Bubonic plague has been found in New Mexico. Known as the "Black Death" in the 14th century, the disease killed up to 60% of the population in Europe. According to health officials in Santa FÃ©, the first case of the year has surfaced in the body of a 58-year-old man in New Mexico.
The unnamed man's blood test confirmed he had the plague that caused one of the most devastating pandemics in human history. Bubonic plague normally results from close association with mice or rats that carry the disease. Fleas bit the rodents and in turn, transferred the plague to humans. The plague most likely got the name "Black Death" from the end stages of the disease, which causes hemorrhaging under the skin, making the skin look black.
The man has already been treated and released. Today, only about one in seven cases result in death due to modern medicine. New Mexico experiences about 10 to 15 cases per year; however, worldwide, 1,000 to 3,000 cases surface every year. The last outbreak in New Mexico occurred in 2009 and resulted in the death of three people. Today's living conditions, especially in the U.S., make the prospect of an epidemic very small. Thankfully, it seems the world will never see a pandemic the scale of the bubonic plague again.
Symptoms of the plague consist of fever, chills, headache, weakness, and swollen nodes in the neck, armpit, or groin. New Mexico has a large population of rodents and fleas, but the disease probably could occur anywhere they exist. One has to ask why the disease cannot be completely eradicated. However, it becomes more obvious every year that the medical community is not as effective in controlling diseases as may be thought. You would think by now they would have learned to kill at least one virus, not to mention a disease caused by bacteria carried in animals with the deadly potential of bubonic plague.