Second case of plague confirmed in New Mexico

The New Mexico Department of Health announced on Tuesday that a second case of plague has been confirmed in Torrance County.

Preliminary tests from the Department's Scientific Laboratory Division showed an 11-year-old girl was positive for plague. A confirmatory test is still pending. The girls home will receive an environmental investigation to look for any possible risks to others in the area.

"Unfortunately, it is not possible to eradicate plague from the rodent population, or to totally eliminate risk to residents who live in areas where there is plague," Dr. Paul Ettestad, the public health veterinarian for the Department of Health, said. "Education about how plague is transmitted to people and what steps can be taken to reduce your risk is key in preventing future cases of this potentially deadly disease."

This is the second case of plague in New Mexico, and in the United States, this year.

The New Mexico Department of Health suggests to avoid plague, people should keep pets from roaming, clean up areas near houses were rodents can live, keep hay and wood away from homes and visit doctors for any unexplained and sudden illnesses.

"Everyone needs to avoid sick or dead rodents and rabbits, and their nests and burrows," Department of Health Secretary Retta Ward said. "Families should also talk to their veterinarian about an appropriate flea product for their pets."