Tags: N.M. | Man | NYC | Has | Bubonic | Plague

N.M. Man in NYC Has Bubonic Plague

Thursday, 07 November 2002 12:00 AM

The man's wife, whose test results were pending, also has been hospitalized.

Bioterrorism is not suspected, experts told The New York Times. The couple is believed to have been infected by rodents in Santa Fe.

Bubonic plague killed millions of people in Europe during the Middle Ages, who were bitten by fleas from infected rats. But in modern times, antibiotics are effective against the disease, and cases of plague are scattered and few, usually arising in rural areas.

In the United States, about 10 to 15 people a year come down with the plague, according to the federal Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. Death can occur if patients are not treated promptly with the appropriate antibiotics.

Symptoms of plague are swollen lymph glands, fever, chills, headache and extreme exhaustion.

The New Mexico couple had some of these symptoms and were admitted to Beth Israel Medical Center on Tuesday night. The man, 53, was in critical condition, and the woman, 47, was in stable condition Thursday, hospital spokesman Mike Quane told United Press International.

"We are confident that their exposure occurred in New Mexico," city Health Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden told reporters Wednesday night.

A rat and its fleas, found on the couple's property in Santa Fe in the summer, tested positive for the plague, Frieden said. Most of the U.S. cases of plague occur in New Mexico and Arizona, according to the CDC.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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The man's wife, whose test results were pending, also has been hospitalized. Bioterrorism is not suspected, experts told The New York Times. The couple is believed to have been infected by rodents in Santa Fe. Bubonic plague killed millions of people in Europe...
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2002-00-07
Thursday, 07 November 2002 12:00 AM
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