Dear Dr. Walt,
I’ve been reading about the increasing cases of Bubonic Plague. Any chance this could become an epidemic? Should I worry?
—Worried in Michigan
Maybe you’re referring to recent news reporting an Oregon teen, who was diagnosed with bubonic plague. The articles all mentioned that the disease has been steadily on the rise for the last five years, and that no one knows exactly why.
Any individual risk depends upon two items: (1) whether you come into contact with fleas or not, since tat is fleas that transmit the disease to humans, and (2) where you live, as most of the cases in the US have been concentrated in New Mexico and the western US.
Either way, should you be one of the very few people to contract the disease this year (we average seven cases in the US each year), you may find comfort in knowing that the bacterium that causes plague, called Yersinia pestis, is quite treatable with antibiotics.
By the way, I wrote a novel, a medical thriller, about the plague. It’s called The Gabon Virus. I hope you’ll read it.
This Q&A was originally published in the March 2016 edition of Today’s Christian Living.
© Copyright WLL, INC. 2016. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.