Sunday, September 30, 2007

New Mexico's rodent problem

Two days ago, Friday, a 58-yr-old woman living in the East Mountain county of New Mexico was diagnosed with bubonic plague. The source is as of yet unidentified, but the investigators are guessing it's the typical suspect for bubonic plague: being around rodents and the fleas that live on rodents. The poor woman is currently in the hospital, recovering rather nicely, and doing as well as can be expected after she's grew several bulbous nubbins where her lymph nodes should be.

Surprisingly, this is the fifth confirmed case of bubonic plague New Mexico has seen so far in 2007. According to the CDC website, there are only about 10-15 confirmed cases in the U.S. every year. This year doesn't seem to be an anomaly for NM either; its track record indicates that bubonic plague has a greater incidence in NM than in other parts of the U.S. In 2006, there were 8 reported cases and 4 cases in 2005.

New Mexico had a rodent problem back in 1997-'98 with its hantavirus pulmonary syndrome outbreak caused by the "Sin Nombre virus", whose vectors were mice and the lovely gifts they'd leave all over people's floors.

As a side note, I couldn't help but think of the Disney movie, Fifel Goes West-- did anyone watch that? And Rescuers Down Under, but that was more Australia-based. Then there's mickey and minnie. Come to think of it, Disney really loves its rodents... We're sending our kids the wrong message that all rodents are fuzzy, huggable, lovable creatues. I guess long as none of them have plague-infested fleas or are carrying hantavirus, they're safe. :)


link to promed source Here

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