An Idaho child was infected with the plague this week, the first human diagnosis in the state since 1992, health officials confirmed.
It said that in 2015 and 2016, the disease was discovered in ground squirrels in Elmore County as well as nearby Ada County.
Central District Health Department epidemiologists are unsure if the child was exposed to plague in Idaho or during a recent trip to Oregon.
Evidently. It's unknown whether the child - whose identity was not disclosed - contracted the disease in Idaho or in or while on a recent vacation. Plague has been found in wildlife in both states.
The plague was brought to the United States around 1900 by rat-infested steamships that had sailed from areas with high infection rates.
According to health officials, plague in humans is rare and is spread through a bite from an infected flea.
It is the first human case in the state since the early 1990s, and is believed to be the only one reported this year. There may be a swelling in the lymph nodes under the jaw of pets.
"The case serves as a reminder to recreationists in southern Idaho that plague is unsafe to people and pets, but with proper awareness, precautions and prompt treatment when needed, plague should not discourage you from enjoying the Idaho outdoors", state health officials said in a news release. 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.
It is most notable for causing the Black Death in Europe in the 1300s, killing between 30 and 60 percent of the entire population of the continent at the time. "Wear insect repellant, long trousers and socks when visiting plague-affected areas". Bubonic plague results in painfully swollen lymph nodes, while septicemic plague happens when the infection gets in the blood and causes skin and tissue to turn black and die.
Clean up areas near your home where rodents can live, such as woodpiles and lots with tall grasses and weeds. Other animals, like rats, rabbits and chipmunks can then become infected when fleas move on from an infected animal.
Talk to your veterinarian about using an appropriate flea control product on pets.