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Modern Day Plague Resurgence: A Deadly Disease Still Haunts Us



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In a chilling reminder of a dark chapter in history, health officials in Colorado have confirmed a human case of the plague in Pueblo County. This grim discovery comes shortly after a similar case was reported in Oregon.

The plague, caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, has a long and deadly history that dates back thousands of years, with devastating pandemics striking regions like Europe, Constantinople, and Asia. Despite significant progress in modern medicine, outbreaks of the plague continue to haunt us to this day.

According to data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the United States sees an average of seven reported cases of the plague each year, primarily in western and southwestern states. Globally, countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, and Peru bear the highest burden of this ancient disease.

There are two main forms of plague infection: bubonic, transmitted through flea bites or contact with infected animals, and pneumonic, a severe lung infection that can spread through respiratory droplets. While most cases in the U.S. have been of the bubonic form, the pneumonic form poses a greater risk due to its rapid progression.

Despite the lack of a vaccine for the plague in the U.S., preventive measures such as using insect repellent and controlling flea populations in pets can help reduce the risk of infection. Prompt medical attention is crucial for survival, as untreated cases of the plague can still be fatal, with an overall mortality rate of approximately 11%.

As the specter of this ancient disease continues to linger, vigilance in monitoring for symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes, fever, body aches, and respiratory issues remains paramount in combating the resurgence of the plague. Health authorities advise prompt reporting and treatment for suspected cases to prevent further spread.

Rachel Adams

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