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Officials report 2 more plague cases in Santa Fe County

The New Mexico Health Department says the two women in Santa Fe County, N.M. were both hospitalized as a result of contracting confirmed symptoms of the human plague.While seen as a relic of the Middle Ages, the New Mexico DOH said in its statement that there were four cases of plague in 2016. Earlier in June, the state reported a case of plague in a 63-year-old man, also living in Santa Fe County.Health workers are conducted environmental investigations around the homes of the three patients to look for ongoing risk and to ensure the safety of the immediate family members and neighbors. Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, weakness and painful swollen lymph nodes.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are seven cases of plague on average each year. There have been 17 cases of plague documented in animals this year in New Mexico.”Plague is more common in the summer because rodents are out of their burrows and fleas are more active”. Physicians who suspect plague should promptly report to the Department of Health.Although the plague can be treated using antibiotics, the CDC says the key is still recognizing the symptoms early and receiving treatment immediately.”Pets that are allowed to roam and hunt can bring infected fleas from dead rodents back into the home, putting you and your children at risk”, he said. In fact, typically, half of all USA plague cases occur in New Mexico, NMDOH officials said.The plague, which is caused by a type of bacteria called Yersinia pestis, is perhaps best known for killing millions of people in Europe in the 1300s, in a pandemic called the Black Death. In 2015, there was an unusually high number of plague cases in the United States – 16 in total, according to the CDC.In 2015, there was an increase in USA cases, with 16 reported and even fourth deaths.