7-Year-Old Girl Contracts Bubonic Plague at Campground
September 6, 2012
by Kate Goodin
Sierra Jane Downing, a seven-year-old girl from Colorado, is recovering from an illness she caught while camping—but it's not Lyme Disease or poison ivy rash. Sierra caught a rare form of the bubonic plague, and her doctors say she's "fortunate to be alive," reports ABC News. You might remember bubonic plague from your history books as the "Black Death" that killed an estimated 25 million people in the 14th century.
Sierra's father took her to the ER after she had a seizure, but at first doctors just thought she had a bad case of the flu. After finding swollen lymph nodes and Sierra's body temperature reaching a scary 107 degrees, she was diagnosed with bubonic plague and given antibiotics.
Doctors at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children said that Sierra probably contracted the disease from contact with fleas that were on a dead squirrel. Sierra tried to bury the squirrel, but didn't touch it. The fleas likely jumped on her then, and biting and infecting her.
Sierra should be released from the hospital within a week. We wish Sierra a safe and speedy recovery!