The Black Death RETURNS: Epidemic risk as multiple victims struck down by bubonic plague

Monday, August 14, 2017
By Paul Martin

PLAGUE fighters are killing off fleas carrying the Black Death after multiple people were stricken with one of the world’s most feared diseases.

By Tom Evans
14th August 2017

Health officials are targeting rodent burrows as fears grow that a resurgent strain could spark an epidemic.

Just weeks ago, three people were rushed to hospital after scientists confirmed that insects are carrying a strain of the same plague that wiped out a quarter of the human race in the middle ages.

The Black Death of the 1300s killed a staggering 100million people.

And though a disaster on such a catastrophic scale is unlikely in a more advanced era of medical technology, the new outbreak is of serious concern.

As well as avoiding rodent burrows, public health officials in Arizona are putting out warnings to reduce the risk of people contracting plague by preventing pets from running loose.

Confirmation that fleas were carrying the bacteria that causes plague, Yersinia pestis, came this week after positive tests at two sites near Flagstaff.

In June, three people needed hospital treatment after contracting plague 400 miles east in Santa Fe County, New Mexico.

Scientists carried out extensive checks around the homes of the victims – who included a 52-year-old and a 62-year-old woman, to “ensure the safety of the immediately family and neighbours”.

Arizona’s Coconino County Public Health Services District warned: “The disease can be transmitted to humans and other animals by the bite of an infected flea or by direct contact with an infected animal.

“Symptoms of plague in humans generally appear within two to six days following exposure and include fever, chills, headache, weakness, muscle pain, and swollen lymph glands – called ‘buboes’ – in the groin, armpits or limbs.

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