A Marquette County resident has contracted a rare form of the bubonic plague after coming home from a trip from Colorado. This is the first ever documented case in Michigan’s public health history of the bubonic plague.
The Michigan local is recovering after receiving treatment for the plague, and officials are urging residents not to worry about contacting the bubonic plague.
“The individual is a Marquette County resident and is expected to make a full recovery. They are not currently hospitalized, they are at home and doing well.”
Symptoms of the bubonic plague include a sudden fever, headache, chills, and weakness and one or more swollen, tender, and painful lymph nodes. One usually gets the bubonic plague after receiving a bite from a flea that has been infected. People can also be infected after being in direct contact with the tissue or body fluids from an infected animal. The highest risk areas are in settings that offer food and shelter for rodents, like campsites and cabins.
Jennifer Smith, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, told the Detroit Free Press that the public should not be concerned with contracting the bubonic plague.
“Truly there is no risk to anyone. This is not something that occurs to Michigan. This is a person who contracted this while they were away, and the individuals is making a recovery and is not a public health issue.”
Smith continued to say that the bubonic plague is something that does not naturally occur in Michigan, and people who spend a lot of time out west and outdoors are more likely to contract the bubonic plague if they are in rural areas.
The bubonic plague is normally an extremely rare occurrence with the average number of cases reported being seven across the United States yearly. This year has been different though, with the western United States experiencing a larger number of cases with a report of 14 human cases, four of those being deaths.
Chief Medical Executive for MDHHS Dr. Eden Wells gave ABC 10 some tips on how to protect yourself from contracting the bubonic plague.
“People who are traveling and recreating outdoors in the western U.S. should be aware of the risk for exposure to plague. Use insect repellent on your clothig and skin and make sure that any pets that may be along are receiving regular flea treatments.”