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Biological Health Hazard – Human pneumonic plague infection (Yersinia Pestis): Washington State, USA


Published Date: 2016-04-24 07:18:44
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Plague – USA: (WA) pneumonic, susp, RFI
Archive Number: 20160424.4179379

Date: Friday, 22 Apr 2016
Source: Tri-City Herald [edited]

Benton-Franklin Health District investigating possible case of plague
Benton-Franklin Health District was notified on Friday, 22 Apr 2016, that a local resident was being tested for a possible case of pneumonic plague. Test results are expected on Saturday [23 Apr 2016] from the Washington State Department of Health. The case has not been confirmed and there is no immediate risk to the general public, the health district said. The health district will continue to investigate the case, as it does with all reportable conditions.

Plague occurs naturally in the western United States; the last case in Washington State was in 1984. The plague bacterium (_Yersinia pestis_) is transmitted by fleas and cycles naturally among wild rodents. Plague can also infect humans and their pets. Plague can be treated successfully with antimicrobials, but an infected person must be treated promptly. Anyone who has been exposed to the illness can be treated with antibiotics before developing symptoms.

Plague is most often transmitted through bites of infected fleas. It can also be contracted by touching or skinning infected animals (coyotes, squirrels, rats, prairie dogs, and rabbits) or inhaling droplets from the cough of an infected person or animal (especially sick cats). The last reported human-to-human transmission in the US occurred in the 1920s.

[byline: Dawn J. Sagert]

communicated by:
ProMED-mail from HealthMap Alerts

[ProMED-mail awaits additional information about this case. – Mod.LL

A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at:]

See Also

Plague, animal – USA: (NM) pets 20160117.3944780


Plague – USA (17): (OR) bubonic 20151030.3755255
Plague – USA (16): (NM) septicemic 20150924.3668691
Plague – USA (15): (MI) ex CO, bubonic 20150911.3639675
Plague – USA (14): (NM) septicemic 20150904.3622887
Plague – USA (13): (UT) fatal 20150828.3608570
Plague – USA (12) 20150826.3602201
Plague – USA (11): (GA) ex CA, comments 20150822.3596108
Plague – USA (10): (NM) 20150822.3595447
Plague – USA (09): (GA) ex CA 20150821.3593443
Plague – USA (08): (CA) 20150819.3589079
Plague – USA (07): (CO) 20150808.3566831
Plague – USA (06): (CA) 20150807.3563153
Plague – USA (05): (CO) fatality 20150806.35
Plague – USA (04): (NM) pneumonic, fatality 20150726.3537026
Plague – USA (03): (CO) bubonic 20150721.3526149
Plague – USA (02): (CO) fatality 20150623.3458401
Plague – USA: (CO) pneumonic, canine source, poss. human-to-human spread, 2014 20150501.3335475


Plague – USA (06): (CO) septicemic 20140908.2757605
Plague – USA (05): (CO) bubonic 20140813.2684621
Plague – USA (04): (NM) 20140803.2656232
Plague – USA (03): (CO) cluster from canine exposure 20140719.2621418
Plague – USA (02): (CO) pneumonic 20140710.2600593
Plague – USA: (NM) pneumonic 20140425.2430602


Plague – USA (04): (NM) fatality 20131102.2035269
Plague – USA (03): (NM) bubonic 20130927.1972093
Plague – USA (02): (NM) bubonic 20130910.1935879
Plague – USA: (NM) 20130813.1878261
Plague, animal – USA: (CA) squirrel, alert 20130518.1720992

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ProMED-mail is a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases

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