"Since 1990, eight human cases were confirmed in OR and two were confirmed in Idaho".
In the USA, the areas where the plague is more common include northern New Mexico, northern Arizona, southern Colorado, California, southern OR and western Nevada. People can greatly reduce their risk of becoming infected by taking simple precautions.
Jeff Doerr, an epidemiologist at Southeastern Idaho Public Health, says that while the disease is still very serious, it doesn't pose the threat it once did, but it is still something to avoid.
A child in Elmore County, Idaho, is in recovery after the contracting an infection of the Yersinia pestis bacteria - a disease so infamous that it is simply called the plague; though you may know it from its other memorable title, the Black Death. However, according to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, there was a plague outbreak south of Boise from 2015 through 2016 that affected animals. Plague has been found in wildlife in both states.
Over the past few years, a few cases of plague have been recorded annually in New Mexico as well. That would only happen through close proximity to someone suffering from the variation of the disease known as pneumonic plague.
The plague is generally transmitted to humans through the bites of infected fleas but can be transmitted by direct contact with infected animals including rodents and pets. Sick pets should be examined promptly by a veterinarian, especially if they may have had contact with sick or dead rodents.
Still, the U.S. only gets a handful of cases - usually between one and 17 every year. Other ways people can get infected includes coming into contact with contaminated fluid, or through cough droplets.
Plague is a bigger problem in places that have a harder time shutting down outbreaks due to a lack of infrastructure, humanitarian crises, or ongoing conflicts, according to the World Health Organization. But despite its lurking presence, the number of human infections reported annually in the United States is very low - only about 1 to 17 for the past several decades, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Common rodents that can become infected include ground squirrels, rats, voles and mice.
In the 1400s, approximately 50 million people died of the Black Death.
The plague killed some 60 percent of Europeans during the 1300's, but it is no longer as deadly, with a mortality rate of around 10%. But fortunately, antibiotics make it possible to treat most cases now.
Pneumonic plague, which is based in the lungs, "is the most virulent form of plague" and "can be fatal" when not diagnosed and treated early on, according to the WHO.