- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has asked healthcare providers to watch for human plague in patients who display its symptoms.
- The illness, although rare, has been on the rise this year. Eleven cases have been reported since April, with three deaths.
- Most of the reported cases occur in the West.
The bad news is there are more cases of the plague reported this year. The good news is they are treatable with antibiotics, although there still is a 16% mortality rate when antibiotics are used.
But some perspective is in order: There only have been 11 plague cases reported this year. Still, the median number in a given year is three, the CDC notes.
The plague is primarily spread by fleas on rodents. It is far more common in the West, where squirrels, prairie dogs and chipmunks all are known carriers.