A Colorado man has been diagnosed with the deadly pneumonic plague, which is the deadliest form of the bubonic plague. The man’s dog died and a necropsy, which is an autopsy for animals, confirmed that the dog died of the rare pneumonic plague, according to NewsMax on July 11.
This form of the plague is so deadly because it is the only form of plague that can be spread from human to human through infectious droplets when someone coughs. The Pneumonic plague is the same bacteria that causes the bubonic plague.
This is Colorado’s first human case of the pneumonic plague in almost a decade. The dog and the man are believed to have contracted the disease in an eastern Colorado County. The man’s condition is unknown today.
Fleas carry the disease from one animal to another. Prairie dogs are the usual culprits for carrying the diseased fleas. When an animal with the pneumonic plague dies, the fleas on that animal look for another host body and jump on board.
Fox News reports that symptoms of this deadly disease include fever, headaches, shortness of breath chest pains and a cough. The pneumonic plague infects the person’s lungs. It is rare with only 60 cases recorded in Colorado since 1957. Nine of those cases were fatalities, according to the health department in that state.
If the plague is not caught right away and treated with antibiotics, then the disease can be severe, even deadly. The bacteria that causes the pneumonic plague is found in the Western United States, where it occurs naturally. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease, the bacteria is found particularly in Colorado, New Mexico, California and Arizona.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the plague is divided into three main types, they are bubonic, septicemic and pneumonic. You are diagnosed with one of these types depending on what part of your body is infected with this bacterial disease.
Bubonic is the most common and it is named after the lymph nodes, which become swollen with the disease about a week after you are bitten by an infected flea.
Septicemic plague occurs when the bacteria of this plague multiply in your blood stream, then there is the pneumonic plague, which is when the bacteria infects your lungs. This is the most deadly of the three types.
The pneumonic plague progresses rapidly and within two days of you contracting the infection you can fall into respiratory failure and shock. Antibiotics must be used as a treatment within a day after the symptoms appear or there’s a good chance that the disease will be fatal.