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Bubonic Plague Is Back - In Los Angeles

Rare bubonic plague case reported in Los Angeles

A case of bubonic plague has been reported in the second largest US city of Los Angeles for the first time in 22 years, health officials said.

An unidentified woman came down last week with symptoms of the disease, known as the Black Death when it devastatingly swept across Europe in the 14th century.

ImageHealth officials said they believed the infected woman, who remains hospitalised, was exposed to fleas in the area around her house and stressed that the likelihood of a spread of the rare disease was very unlikely.

"Bubonic plague is not usually transmissible from person to person," said Jonathan Fielding, head of Los Angeles County public health.

Fielding explained that the disease is not uncommon among animals such as squirrels but seldom spreads to humans.

"Fortunately, human plague infection is rare in urban environments, and this single case should not be a cause for alarm in the area where this occurred," he said.

Health officials investigating the source of the disease set traps to catch squirrels and other wild animals in the area near where the woman lives.

Blood tests will be performed on any animals caught to determine if they were exposed to the plague bacteria.

Plague symptoms include fever, muscle aches, nausea, headache, sore throat, fatigue and swollen, tender lymph nodes associated with the arm or leg that has flea bites. The disease is treatable with antibiotics, medical experts said.

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