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Akron Univ. School of Law

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Bubonic Plague in LA

The AP reports on the first case of bubonic plague in LA in over twenty years.  The report states,

A woman was hospitalized earlier this month with bubonic plague, the first confirmed human case in Los Angeles County in more than two decades, health officials said Tuesday.

The woman, who was not identified, was admitted April 13 with a fever, swollen lymph nodes and other symptoms. A blood test confirmed she had contracted the bacterial disease. The woman was placed on antibiotics and is in stable condition, the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services said.

Bubonic plague is not contagious, but if left untreated it can morph into pneumonic plague, which can be spread from person to person. Bubonic plague is usually transmitted to humans from the bites of fleas infected by dead rodents.

Health officials suspect the woman was exposed to fleas in her central Los Angeles home, said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, the county's director of public health. The woman's family was also placed on antibiotics as a precaution, but there's no evidence they were infected.

The case is unusual because it occurred in an urban area, Fielding said. Most bubonic plague outbreaks happen in rural communities.

Health officials said there was no cause for panic because the disease is not easily transmissible.

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