New Mexico Woman Diagnosed with the Plague

Health officials in New Mexico say that a 43-year-old woman has been hospitalized with a case of plague, the second case reported in the state this year.

According to New Mexico Health Secretary Retta Ward, the Rio Arriba County woman was likely exposed to the disease when her dogs brought infected fleas into her home.

I happen to live in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, and deal with outside farm dogs on a daily basis. Golly, it's such great fun when you see your hometown on the national new wires!

Anyway, plague is a bacterial disease in rodents that is generally transmitted to humans from infected fleas. It's responsible for the "Black Death" that killed up to 200 million people in Europe during the 14th century and changed the course of western history.

It's not a pleasant illness, but it is treatable with antibiotics.

The first case of plague in the state happened earlier this year in Torrence County, northeast of Albuquerque, when a 57-year-old man was sickened by the disease. Officials say he is still recovering.

Officials in Colorado say that four people have been recently diagnosed with plague in that state. All four were exposed to the plague from a single infected dog, which later died of the disease.

Image via CDC