By Ken Buben, President, FancyScrubs.com
The Bubonic Plaque has hit New Mexico for a 2nd time this year. The latest patient is a 78 year old man from Santa Fe County who is recovering in the hospital. The health secretary of New Mexico warns they are seeing this bubonic plaque in both animals and humans and precautions must be taken.
Plague is a severe and potentially deadly bacterial infection. People can get the plague when they are bitten by a flea that carries the plague bacteria from an infected rodent. In rare cases, you may get the disease when handling an infected animal.
Certain forms of the plague can be spread from human to human. When someone with pneumonic plague coughs, microscopic droplets carrying the infection move through the air. Anyone who breathes in these particles may catch the disease. An epidemic may be started this way. In the Middle Ages, massive plague epidemics killed millions of people.
Symptoms can include after 2-5 days exposure:
- General ill feeling (malaise)
- High fever
- Muscle pain
- Severe headache
- Smooth, painful lymph gland swelling called a bubo
Pneumonic plague symptoms appear suddenly, typically 2 – 3 days after exposure. They include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Frothy, bloody sputum
- Severe cough
Septicemic plague may cause death even before its symptoms occur. Symptoms can include:
- Abdominal pain
- Bleeding due to blood clotting problems
- Low blood pressure
- Organ failure
If anyone has these symptoms they need to be treated immediately and if not treated in 24 hours death is almost certain.
Patients with pneumonic plague are strictly isolated from other patients. People who have had contact with anyone infected by pneumonic plague are watched carefully and are given antibiotics as a preventive measure.
So once again hospitals, medical clinics and offices must stay protected from infectious diseases. Every effort must be made to prevent the spread of infectious diseases with thorough cleaning of all surfaces, proper hand washing and wearing protective self cleaning medical uniforms that are now available.