As if worrying about Ebola escaping Africa wasn’t enough Bloomberg is reporting that a Denver man has contracted pneumonic plague.

Jennifer House from the Colorado Department of Public Heath and Environment told Bloomberg:

House said the man has been hospitalized and treated, she wouldn’t release other details about his situation. “He’s on treatment long enough to not be transmissible,” House said in a telephone interview. He may have contracted the illness from his dog, she said, which died suddenly and has also been found to carry the disease.

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“We don’t think it’s out in our air,” House said. (my emphasis)

“We think it’s in our dead animal populations and dead rodent populations.”

Plague in all of its forms infects only about seven people yearly in the U.S. The disease occurs when a bacterium named Yersinia pestis infects the body, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The difference between the pneumonic and bubonic varieties is that the bacteria take hold in the lungs in the first case, rather than underneath the skin through insect bites. Both types are treated with antibiotics.

The state is working “to investigate the source of exposure and to identify those who may have been exposed through close contact with the individual,” the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said in its statement. “Any individuals exposed will be recommended for antibiotic treatment.”

I am so pleased that they “don’t think it’s in the air” but I would be far more pleased if they stated, definitively, that it wasn’t.

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Image Source: Medscape.com “Pneumonic plague is the more likely form associated with bioterrorism. Inhalation of aerosolized Y pestis released from a biological weapon causes a rapidly progressive multilobar pneumonia. Bilateral infiltrates are common in pneumonic plague (shown). Treatment: streptomycin (gentamicin), doxycycline, or a quinolone is preferred for pneumonic and bubonic plague. Patients with plague meningitis should also receive chloramphenicol due to its excellent CNS penetration. Strict respiratory isolation is required in cases of confirmed or suspected pneumonic plague. Mortality is high and very early treatment is associated with a better outcome.”Hattip DCClothesline.com

Image Source: Medscape.com “Pneumonic plague is the more likely form associated with bioterrorism. Inhalation of aerosolized Y pestis released from a biological weapon causes a rapidly progressive multilobar pneumonia. Bilateral infiltrates are common in pneumonic plague (shown). Treatment: streptomycin (gentamicin), doxycycline, or a quinolone is preferred for pneumonic and bubonic plague. Patients with plague meningitis should also receive chloramphenicol due to its excellent CNS penetration. Strict respiratory isolation is required in cases of confirmed or suspected pneumonic plague. Mortality is high and very early treatment is associated with a better outcome.”Hattip DCClothesline.com

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