Published: Jul 31, 2014 9:24 AM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Four cases of life-threatening plague were found in Colorado in the past couple of weeks.  Dr. Annette St. Pierre-MacKoul discusses the plague and how it can affect us.  

Plague  

Bacteria involved: 

Yersinia Pestis Bubonic Plague = most common - lymph nodes

Pneumonic Plague = most contagious form

Septicemic Plague = Black Death

Epidemiology:  

China:  1 death/last month - control measures taken.

Colorado: 4 cases/last month - all treated and improved.

Perspective:  Colorado with 12 cases in last 10 years. Colorado is investigating cases.  Outbreak is over.

Usually: 7 people / year infected in the US - AZ, NM, CO

Transmission:  

Originally described:  Fleas from rodents to humans

Colorado cases:  Dog to human

Animal Reservoir:  mice, camels, chipmunks, prairie dogs, rabbits, and squirrels.

Most dangerous:  rat fleas

Treatment:  

Antibiotics

Control measures

Investigation

Other Infectious Diseases in the News:  

Ebola Virus - Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea only            

Spreads through exposure to bodily fluids only.            

Control measures are being taken.            

Severe acute viral illness - fever, weakness, HA, ST -- progresses quickly - vomit, diarrhea, rash, organ failure, bleeding Flesh Eating Bacteria - Sarasota, FL             

Eating raw oysters              

Swimming/soil exposure to open wounds            

Vibrio Vulnificus             

Stomach illness, fever, shock or infected wound