Child In The US Confirmed To Have The Bubonic Plague

by : Julia Banim on : 17 Jun 2018 19:49
Child in Idaho diagnosed with the Bubonic Plague.Child in Idaho diagnosed with the Bubonic Plague.PA

A child in Idaho has been diagnosed with the bubonic plague, becoming the first person in the state to be diagnosed with the disease for 26 years.

The unnamed boy from Elmore County has been treated with antibiotics in hospital and is now said to be recovering at home. He remains in a stable condition and it is understood this particular case does not pose a risk to others.

It remains uncertain whether the child contracted the bubonic plague in Idaho or while on a recent visit to Oregon.


Ground squirrels in Elmore and south Ada counties – close to the sufferer’s home – tested positive for carrying the disease back in 2015 and 2016. However, there have been no cases since then.

Since 1990, eight human cases of the bubonic plague have been confirmed in Oregon with two being confirmed in Idaho, IFL Science! reports.

Epidemiologist Sarah Correll made the following comments in a Central District Health Department press release:


Plague is spread to humans through a bite from an infected flea. People can decrease their risk by treating their pets for fleas and avoiding contact with wildlife,

Wear insect repellant, long pants and socks when visiting plague affected areas.

Plague in humans is rare, but this can happen naturally among some populations of rodents, with fleas spreading the disease from animal to animal.

Under rare circumstances, the disease can also be passed between humans through direct contact with animals which have been infected or their fleas.


Plague symptoms normally occur within two to six days of being exposed. Symptoms may include fever, chills, headache and weakness. There is usually also a painful lymph node swelling in the areas of the groin, armpit, or neck.

Symptoms among cats and dogs may include fever, lethargy and changes in appetite, with lymph node swelling under the jaw.

The Central District Health Department has advised:

Prompt diagnosis and appropriate antibiotic treatment can greatly reduce the risk of death in people and pets.


The Central District Health Department has offered the following advice to Idaho residents:

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.


UNILAD wishes the child who has been affected a full recovery.

If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Health


IFL Science! and 1 other
  1. IFL Science!

    A Child In Idaho Has Contracted The First Local Case Of Bubonic Plague In Nearly 30 Years

  2. Central District Health Department

    Elmore County Child Recovering After Plague Infection