It was back in the Middle Ages that millions of people died from an infectious disease; the bubonic plague, or Black Death as it was called. It has now been discovered that fleas have been found carrying the disease in the United States.
So far there have been no reported illness or deaths from this particular case, and they have only been found in two areas of Arizona, but health officials have issued a warning to the public, saying humans can contract the disease both from flea bites but also from handling the fluid or tissue of an animal that has the illness.
“Navajo County Health Department is urging the public to take precautions to reduce their risk of exposure to this serious disease, which can be present in fleas, rodents, rabbits and predators that feed upon these animals,” the public health warning says.
Although you might not have heard of the plague, except in relation to the huge loss of life all those years ago, it never actually went away. Although rare, it is believed up to 300 people still die each year from it around the world, though only a very small number from the US. It can, however, be easily treated with antibiotics.
Symptoms of the plague include sudden onset of fever, headache, chills, and weakness and swollen, tender and painful lymph nodes referred to as buboes. This is usually the result of an infected flea bite. Left untreated the plague can spread to other parts of the body, causing death.