New Mexico Confirms Human Plague Case From Torrance County

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Human Pneumonic Plague

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New Mexico Department of Health has confirmed a case of secondary pneumonic plague in a 58-year-old woman from Torrance County.

The patient first developed bubonic plague, which progressed to plague pneumonia. The patient has been hospitalized and is in critical condition. This is the second case of plague confirmed in New Mexico this year. The first case occurred in late April in a man from San Juan County who recovered. The department will conduct an environmental investigation at the woman's residence to determine if there is any ongoing risk to other people.

"With the warmer weather there will likely be an increase in plague activity in wild rodents, especially in the north-central and northwestern parts of the state where we have traditionally found most of the plague activity in New Mexico," said Dr. Paul Ettestad, public health veterinarian at the Department of Health. "No one should be complacent and assume that if a plague case occurs several miles from their home there is no risk for them at their home. People should take necessary precautions to prevent their exposure to rodents as part of their regular routine."

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