Updated: Monday, 09 May 2011, 9:02 AM MDT
Published : Friday, 06 May 2011, 2:50 PM MDT
SANTA FE (KRQE) - New Mexico and the country's first human plague case of 2011 has been confirmed in a Santa Fe County man, the state Department of Health reported Friday.
The victim of the bubonic plague is recovering in a hospital, the DOH said identifying him only as being 58 years old.
The department is alerting people who live in the same area or came in contact with the man, DOH Secretary Dr. Catherine Torres said.
"Whenever there is a human case of plague, the Department of Health takes several steps to ensure the safety of the immediate family, neighbors, and health care providers," Torres said in a statement released by her office. "We inform neighbors door-to-door about plague found in the area and educate them on reducing their risk.
"We determine whether individuals close to the patient may also have been exposed to the plague and recommend preventative treatment when necessary."
Plague is a bacterial disease of rodents and is generally transmitted to humans through the bites of infected fleas but can also be transmitted by direct contact with infected animals including rodents, wildlife and pets.
Earlier this spring the DOH confirmed plague in two Santa Fe County dogs and a cat from Rio Arriba County.
The Department of Health provided these tips on avoiding and recognizing plague:
To prevent plague, the Department of Health recommends:
Symptoms of plague in humans include:
With prompt diagnosis and appropriate antibiotic treatment, the fatality rate in people and pets can be greatly reduced.
Police in Santa Fe say increased patrols and aggressive tactical plans are …