That's right, the plague-- and we aren't talking about a prairie dog population outbreak. The news Friday is that we, as a country, are seeing the first person to person transfer of the plague in nearly 100 years.

First Person to Person Transfer of Plague in Nearly 100 Yrs Getty Images
First Person to Person Transfer of Plague in Nearly 100 Yrs Getty Images

25 million people around the world died of the plague in the 500's.

The story out Friday morning is that a dog contracted the plague and passed it on to a human. The dog reportedly got incredibly ill and was coughing up blood, exposing its owner to the bacteria. It is assumed that the dog contracted the plague from area prairie dogs, rodents or even fleas.

According to the Today show and medical contributor Dr. Natalie Azar, it is not known 100% if the second human contracted the plague from the dog owner as there is some belief that that person also had contact with the dog.

If it were to spread from human to human, it would look much like the initial contractor of the bacteria from the dog. A human could transfer the plague through exposure to body fluids.

The good news about the plague today verses 100 years ago: it is a bacteria and can be treated.  With that said, if it goes undetected, it has the potential to be catastrophic. The chances of survival are extremely high if caught within the first 24-hours.

The dog owner and friend have been treated and are fine.

This is not likely to become an epidemic but is a cautionary tale for pet owners and vets. Don't let your pets hang out with prairie dogs and rodents. Be very cautious of their contact with these critters and if you hike, wear insect repellent and socks.



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