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Department of Health Reports Plague Case in Torrance County Man (NM - first case in the US in 2012)
New Mexico Dept of Health Communications Office ^ | May 31, 2012 | New Mexico Dept of Health

Posted on 05/31/2012 4:02:40 PM PDT by CedarDave

(Santa Fe) -- The New Mexico Department of Health confirmed today a case of plague in a 78-year-old man from Torrance County who is currently hospitalized in stable condition. This is the first human case of plague in New Mexico this year and in the United States. An environmental investigation will take place at the man’s home to look for ongoing risk to others in the surrounding area.

“The Department of Health takes action when a plague case occurs to ensure the safety of the immediate family, neighbors, and health care providers,” said Department of Health Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Catherine Torres. “We inform neighbors door-to-door about plague found in the area and educate them on reducing their risk. We determine whether individuals close to the patient may also have been exposed to the plague and recommend preventative treatment when necessary.”

Plague is a bacterial disease of rodents and is generally transmitted to humans through the bites of infected fleas, but can also be transmitted by direct contact with infected animals, including rodents, wildlife and pets.

“Plague activity usually begins to increase in the spring and continues into the summer months, so people need to take precautions to avoid rodents and their fleas which can expose them to plague,” said Dr. Paul Ettestad, public health veterinarian for the Department of Health. “Pets that are allowed to roam and hunt can bring infected fleas from dead rodents back into the home, putting you and your children at risk.”

To prevent plague, the Department of Health recommends:
• Avoid sick or dead rodents and rabbits, and their nests and burrows.
• Keep your pets from roaming and hunting
• Talk to your veterinarian about using an appropriate flea control product on your pets
• Clean up areas near the house where rodents could live, such as woodpiles, brush piles, junk and abandoned vehicles.
• Sick pets should be examined promptly by a veterinarian.
• See your doctor about any unexplained illness involving a sudden and severe fever.
• Put hay, wood, and compost piles as far as possible from your home.
• Don’t leave your pet’s food and water where mice can get to it.

Symptoms of plague in humans include sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, and weakness. In most cases there is a painful swelling of the lymph node in the groin, armpit or neck areas. Plague symptoms in cats and dogs are fever, lethargy and loss of appetite. There may be a swelling in the lymph node under the jaw. With prompt diagnosis and appropriate antibiotic treatment, the fatality rate in people and pets can be greatly reduced. Physicians who suspect plague should promptly report to NMDOH.

In New Mexico, there were two human cases of plague in 2011, no cases in 2010, and six human cases of plague in 2009, one of them fatal.

For more information, including fact sheets in English and Spanish, go to the Department of Health’s website at:

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: New Mexico
KEYWORDS: hantavirus; plague
Aw, New Mexico -- "Land of the Flea and Home of the Plague."
The plague is treatable and most patients survive with antibiotics. Hantavirus is different; the fatality rate is potentially 100% unless those stricken receive intense intervention and hospitalization. As the disease infects the lungs, survivors commonly have lifelong debilitating symptoms. New Mexico has had one case this year, a 20-year old woman from northern NM who died.

Department of Health Announces Fatal Hantavirus Case in Rio Arriba County Resident (May 25, 2012)

Ninety cases have been reported since 1975 with 40 percent of them have been fatal. Since it was first diagnosed* in 1993, New Mexico has had a total of 91 lab-confirmed HPS cases with 37 fatalities, the highest number of cases for any state in the nation. The news release provides information on preventing infection and a map is provided at the link shown below.
HPS Cases in New Mexico by County, 1975 ̶ 2011

* - cases prior to 1993 were reviewed and included in the count if symptomology met Hantavirus criteria.

1 posted on 05/31/2012 4:02:50 PM PDT by CedarDave
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To: LegendHasIt; Rogle; leapfrog0202; Santa Fe_Conservative; DesertDreamer; OneWingedShark; ...

NM list PING!

I may not PING for all New Mexico articles. To see New Mexico articles by topic click here: New Mexico Topics

To see NM articles by keyword, click here:New Mexico Keywords

To see the NM Message Page, click here: New Mexico Messages

(The NM list is available on my FR homepage for anyone to use. Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from the list.)

2 posted on 05/31/2012 4:50:41 PM PDT by CedarDave
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To: CedarDave
Department of Health Reports Plague Case in Torrance County Man

Those dirty rats.

3 posted on 05/31/2012 4:54:14 PM PDT by ROCKLOBSTER (Celebrate Republicans Freed the Slaves Month.)
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To: CedarDave

Guess it’s time to spray my woodpiles, and run off the squirrels. I haven’t had a mouse problem sense my two cats moved in.

4 posted on 05/31/2012 5:12:00 PM PDT by pallis
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