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This child caught the plague while camping at Yosemite National Park


(NaturalNews) The California Department of Public Health is looking into claims that a child who was camping in Yosemite National Park has contracted the plague. Other members of the camping party are being monitored for symptoms.

This news comes just after the recent death of an adult in Colorado who also contracted the incredibly rare disease, the same disease that killed millions across Europe in the 1300s and devastated populations.

The plague has become incredibly rare since the development of modern medicine, and according to the World Health Organization (WHO) most of the cases today are in Africa – although some still occur in the U.S.

What is the plague?

The plague is a serious bacterial infection that can be deadly, and is caused by a strain of bacteria called Yersinia pestis. This bacteria is found on various animals throughout the world, and is usually transmitted by fleas rather than through human-to-human contact.

The risk of catching the plague is at its highest in areas that have poor sanitation, overcrowding and a large population of rodents. It progresses rapidly, and can lead to death it left untreated, with a case-fatality ratio of between 30 and 60%. There are three different types of the plague, and each has slightly different symptoms.

Bubonic Plague

This is the most common form and is usually contracted when an infected rodent or flea bites you. In extremely rare cases, you can get the bacteria from touching material that has come into contact with an infected person. It mostly infects your lymphatic symptom.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever and chills

  • Headache

  • Muscle pain

  • General weakness

  • Seizures

  • Swollen lymph glands

  • Pneumonic plague

    When the bacteria spreads to the lungs, you have pneumonic plague – which is the most lethal form of the disease. When someone with the disease coughs, the bacteria from their lungs are expelled into the air, and can become contracted by other people who breathe that air.

    It is highly contagious and can lead to an epidemic – this is the only form of plague that can be transmitted from person to person.

    Symptoms include:

  • Trouble breathing

  • Chest pain

  • Cough

  • Fever

  • Headache

  • Overall weakness

  • Bloody sputum

  • Septicemic Plague

    When the bacteria enter the bloodstream directly and multiply, it becomes septicemic plague. Symptoms normally start within two to seven days after exposure, and if left untreated, bubonic and pneumonic plague will become septicemic.

    Symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain

  • Diarrhea

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Fever and chills

  • Extreme weakness

  • Bleeding

  • Shock

  • Skin turning black

  • If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of the plague, and has been to an area where the disease occurs, call a doctor right away. The plague is treatable with antibiotics, as long as it is caught and treated soon after infection.

    The case in Yosemite

    California health officials announced last week that the child is currently recovering, and that no one else who was camping has reported symptoms. There have been 42 human cases of plague since 1970 in California, of which nine were fatal – the last reported was in 2006.

    Plague-infected animals in California are mostly found in the foothills and mountains; health officials monitor these areas by regularly testing animals and flies for infection. They're currently working with Yosemite National Park and the U.S. Forest Service to find the source of the infection, and are looking into the patient's travel history during the incubation period.

    Although the disease is rare, people are advised to protect themselves by avoiding contact with wild rodents: Don't feed squirrels, chipmunks or other rodents in picnic or campground areas and never touch sick or dead rodents. Be sure to protect your pets from contact with contagious fleas by keeping them away from wild animals.

    Sources include:



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