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First case of plague this year reported in Santa Fe County

A Santa Fe County man in his 60s has been diagnosed with bubonic plague, the first human plague case in New Mexico in 2020, state health officials said Monday.

The man is recovering at a local hospital and officials are investigating his home for any potential threat to other family members, according to a news release.

“This is a reminder that even during a pandemic, other infectious diseases are out there that can still put your health at risk,” said Department of Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel in a prepared statement. “All New Mexicans need to be aware of the risks for contracting diseases like plague and take the necessary precautions to avoid them.”

Plague is generally transmitted to humans and pets through the bites of infected fleas, health officials said. Pets also can be exposed after eating an infected animal.

Human symptoms include sudden onset of fever, chills, headache and weakness, and often feature swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin, armpit or neck.

In dogs and cats, symptoms include fever, lethargy and loss of appetite, and possible swelling in the lymph nodes under the jaw.

Physicians who suspect plague should promptly report to NMDOH by calling 505-827-0006, state officials said.

New Mexico had just one human plague case last year and none in 2018.

For more information, visit nmhealth.org/about/erd/ideb/zdp/plg.

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