SANTA FE, N.M., June 11 (UPI) -- Health Department officials say residents of Santa Fe County, N.M., should take precautions amid three confirmed cases of bubonic plague in the county.
Paul Ettestad, the state public health veterinarian, said residents also need to be cautious with pets that are allowed outside because the county is seeing a number of bubonic plague cases involving animals, The (Santa Fe) New Mexican said Thursday.
"Besides the human cases, we're also having animal cases," Ettestad said. "Those span from Taos County all the way down north-central New Mexico. I don't suspect that plague is just in one small area, it seems to be countywide in Santa Fe."
A 54-year-old man is the third person to be confirmed with the potentially deadly infection, which has claimed the life of an 8-year-old boy. The boy's 10-year-old sister was also infected, Ettestad said.
Symptoms of bubonic plague include swollen lymph nodes and a high fever. The bacterial disease has been known to be spread by fleas and rodents, the newspaper said.