Plague is back in the news. Do you need to be worried?

Plague is back in the news. Do you need to be worried?

If COVID-19 wasn’t enough for the world to endure, plague is back in the news after a human case was found in California.

Is this the same thing that killed millions of people back in the Middle Ages? Yes, while extremely rare, the bubonic plague is still out there and there have been cases around the world of people dying from this disease.

So is the plague something we should be concerned about? According to Dr. Sonia Dhingra, Infectious Disease Specialist at Aurora Medical Center Grafton, that might depend on where you live.

“The bacteria called ‘Yersenia Pestis’ that causes plague is found in certain Western areas of the country primarily Arizona, California, Colarado, Oregon, Nevada and New Mexico to name a few.  If you don’t live in these endemic areas there is less of a concern.”

While there is no current vaccine for the plague, most cases of plague if caught early can be treated with antibiotics. Here are some thoughts and tips from Dr. Dhingra for protecting yourself and your family from the plague:

  • Humans can contract the plague a variety of ways: bites from rodents or fleas; scratches or bites from infected domestic cats; and direct handling of infected animal tissue.
  • Reducing exposure to endemic areas is the best preventive measure.
  • Other prevention measures can include rodent control, flea control and using insect repellent with DEET.
  • The Center for Disease Control actually advises not to sleep in the same bed with pets like cats and dogs that roam freely in endemic areas.

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About the Author

Colin Schaller
Colin Schaller

Colin graduated from Marquette University with a degree in communications and has more than 10 years of experience in small marketing firms to Fortune 500 companies. Colin is married to his wonderful wife, Brooke, and they have two children. Outside of work, Colin enjoys golf, going to the gym, watching movies (he is a Star Wars nerd), tinkering with his home theater and spending time with family and friends.