The Plague Has Been Reported in Idaho: Here's What You Need to Know

Guard the potatoes!

by Josie Rhodes Cook

Yes, you read that correctly: A case of the plague has surfaced right here in the United States. And if you’re anywhere near Idaho, you may want to keep an eye out and steer clear of any dead animals… assuming that’s something you wouldn’t normally do anyway.

A kid in Idaho was diagnosed with the plague, according to the Central District Health Department in the state, and is reportedly recovering after receiving treatment. But authorities aren’t entirely sure whether the child was exposed to the disease in Idaho or on a recent trip to Oregon.

Why Is This Happening?

There are actually a few plague cases each year in the US, according to Business Insider. It hasn’t ever totally gone away, partly because wild rodent populations can harbor Yersinia pestis bacteria.

Cases of plague mostly crop up in the rural West and the Southwest. It’s still pretty rare, but not totally unheard of.

Officials aren’t entirely sure how the kid — whose name, age, and gender have not been revealed — caught the plague, but this is actually not the first time someone has caught the deadly disease in the state in relatively recent memory.

When Was The Last Case Reported in Idaho?

There have been two cases of the plague in Idaho and eight cases in Oregon since 1990.

ABC reported that around seven people are infected with plague every year in the US, often after being bitten by a flea from a rodent or some infected animal. People are exposed to the plague in most cases when they or their pets go near dead or wild animals that have fleas carrying the Yersinia pestis bacteria, according to Business Insider.

Should I Be Freaking Out Yet?

This news is not really something you need to panic over. Though the plague continues to be a pretty serious disease, and you can still die from it, it’s pretty rare. And on the off chance that you are somehow exposed, it can be treated with antibiotics these days.

And officials take any case of the plague extremely seriously. When a case is diagnosed in the US, experts work hard to find every single person an individual who’s been infected may have come into contact with, Business Insider reported. They don’t mess around with the Black Death.

Around 50 million people died of the plague back in the 1400s, according to the World Health Organization. But between 2010 and 2015, only 584 deaths were reported around the world. That number isn’t zero, but it’s low enough that you don’t have to entirely boycott the state of Idaho just yet.

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