A New Mexico man was treated for bubonic plague this week, being the first documented case of what has been known as “Black Death” this year, The New York Daily News reported.
Santa Fe health officials would not release the 58-year-old patient’s name or exactly when he was admitted to and released from the hospital, but said he suffered high fever, swollen lymph nodes and extreme stomach pain. Official blood tests confirmed the patient was suffering from bubonic plague.
Doctors said they believe the patient was probably bitten by a flea carrying the bacteria—the most common transmission method, followed by infected rodents or other animals.
"He was probably bitten by a flea somewhere on his left leg," Department of Health veterinarian Paul Ettestad told the Santa Fe New Mexican.
On average, less than 15 people in the U.S. each year are diagnosed with bubonic plague, and less than 3,000 worldwide according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Bubonic plague can be treated with antibiotics, but 1 in seven cases are fatal.