Plague Cases in SFe County up to Three This Year

Jun 30, 2017

The infectious disease known as plague is caused by the bacterium Y. pestis.

Early this week, the New Mexico Department of Health reported two recently confirmed human cases of plague in Santa Fe County, bringing the total for reported cases in the county—and the state—this year to three. Those cases occurred this month in two women and one man, all in their 50s or 60s. All were hospitalized and will fortunately survive.

Plague crops up with some regularity each summer around northern New Mexico. In fact, by national standards the state is a hotbed for the disease, with 70 percent of plague infections in the United States reported here. According to the State Health Department, 2015 and 16 each saw four cases reported; one of the 2015 cases proved fatal.

Dylan Syverson spoke to Dr. Kenneth Gage of the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, who gave me some background on the disease and offered strategies for prevention.