Two More Plague Cases in New Mexico

Two newly-confirmed cases of plague in New Mexico bring the total number of cases so far this year in the state to three, health officials say.

Plague is caused by the Yersinia pestis bacterium, which people can get if they are bitten by flea-ridden rodents. Althogh plague decimated medieval Europe, it is now rare in the United States and is easily treated with antibiotics.

The two recent cases involved two women, ages 52 and 62. The previous case occurred in a 63-year-old man, The New York Times reported.

All three patients were treated at Santa Fe-area hospitals and released after a few days, according to Paul Rhien, a state health department spokesman.

Plague is not unusual in New Mexico. Every year for the last few years, a few people in the state have contracted plague. There has been one death, The Times reported.

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