Doctors say while the female patient is out of danger, her husband is in extremely critical condition. They say he was admitted with a fever of 105 degrees. High fever is one of the symptoms of the Bubonic plague.
posted on 11/06/2002 7:53:13 PM PST
To: TexKat; All
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A couple visiting from New Mexico are believed to have contracted bubonic plague and if confirmed this would constitute the first case of the illness in New York City in more than 100 years, health officials said on Wednesday.
The two are "being evaluated for plague," Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden told a news conference. The male patient, 53, is a presumptive positive for the illness and is in critical condition, he said. The female patient, 47, is in stable condition, officials said.
There is no risk to New Yorkers as bubonic plague is not contagious, Frieden said. Officials are "confident" the couple's exposure to the plague occurred in New Mexico, he said.
"All the epidemiological evidence suggests that these infections were naturally acquired in New Mexico," Frieden said. The source of the infection is "believed to be rodents or rodent fleas near their home," he said.
Plague is spread among people when an infected person has plague pneumonia and coughs droplets containing the plague bacteria into air that is breathed by a non-infected person.
Bubonic plague, which swept through Europe during the Middle Ages, has largely been eradicated. But the illness does still occur, with about a dozen cases reported each year in the United States, mostly in the rural Southwest, experts say.
The unidentified couple went to the emergency room at Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan on Tuesday night after several days of flu-like symptoms, high fevers and swollen lymph nodes, the hospital said in a statement. They were immediately placed in isolation, the hospital said.
If detected early, the illness is treatable with antibiotics. Bubonic plague occurs in areas where infection of wild animals is common. Plague also is one of the most feared potential biological weapons.
posted on 11/06/2002 7:56:42 PM PST
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