Yes, Unthinkable: This Child in Idaho Caught the Plague

Yes, Unthinkable: This Child in Idaho Caught the Plague

How he got it remains a mystery. He’s now recovering at home with a strong dose of antibiotics.

Shockingly, the Bubonic Plague that once decimated large parts of Europe in the Middle Ages is alive and kicking. A boy in Idaho hailing from Elmore County is one of the terrorizing disease’s latest victims.

Doctors are uncertain whether the young boy, who remains unnamed, contracted the plague in his home state, or while on a visit to Oregon.

Eerily, ground squirrels in both Elmore and south Ada counties did test positive the disease back in 2015 and 2016 but it’s the first time in 26 years that someone in Idaho has been diagnosed with the disease.

How this poor soul contracted it is a mystery, but there are some clues as to how it might have happened. Fleas can spread the plague from animal to animal, and if your dog gets it, it looks like it could spell bad news.

Related: The Dancing Plague: How Hundreds of People in France Once Danced Themselves to Exhaustion for No Reason

How can you know if you have it? Symptoms of the plague, (I can’t believe I’m writing this), include a fever, the chills, feeling weak and having a headache. Typical stuff.

Usually patients also have swelling of their lymph nodes in their groin, armpit or neck.

Here’s how Idaho’s Central District Health Department advises you avoid the whole mess:

“Don’t touch or handle wild rodents or their carcasses.

Keep your pets from roaming and hunting rodents. This is important – when an animal
dies from the plague, fleas leave the body and look for another host, which could be your pet, especially if it rolls in a carcass or eats it.

Talk to your veterinarian about flea control for your pets before venturing out to ground squirrel areas, and follow the directions on the label. Not all flea products are safe for dogs and cats.

If you find a group of dead ground squirrels, you can report it to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game on its plague website.

Don’t feed rodents in campgrounds, picnic areas, or near your home.

Clean up areas near your home where rodents could live.

Store hay, wood and compost piles as far as possible away from your home.

Don’t leave pet food and water where rodents can get to them.”

 

 

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