The US health authorities have launched an investigation after an American teenager contracted the bubonic plague on a hunting trip in Oregon.
It is believed that the girl was bitten by an infected flea, and she is currently being treated in hospital.
The bubonic plague was largely wiped out with the invention of antibiotics, but, still carried by rodents and fleas, it has not completely disappeared. Nine countries reported a total of 626 cases last year, with 127 of them resulting in death.
The bubonic plague is highly contagious, and causes a high fever, swollen lymph nodes and blackened, oozing sores. It can also cause gangrene – in 2012 another Oregon resident lost his fingers and toes after catching the plague from a dead rat.
The bubonic plague is particularly notorious for the epidemic that wiped out between 25 and 60% of the European population in the 1300s.
It then killed over 100,000 people in London between 1665 and 1666.
Thanks to modern medicine – as well as the fact that she was diagnosed quickly – the teenager is expected to make a full recovery.