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Michigan resident diagnosed with bubonic plague

Yersinia pestis (Pasteurella pestis) is the bacterium responsible for the bubonic plague.
Yersinia pestis (Pasteurella pestis) is the bacterium responsible for the bubonic plague. (Getty Images)

LANSING, Mich. – A case of bubonic plague has been confirmed in a Michigan resident who recently returned from Colorado in an area with reported plague activity, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The Marquette County resident is recovering after receiving appropriate treatment. Public health officials have said there is no concern regarding human-to-human transmission in this case. This is Michigan's first plague diagnosis and the 14th case reported nationally in 2015.

Plague is a rare, life-threatening, flea-borne illness caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. This bacteria occurs in nature among wild rodents and their fleas in rural and semi-rural areas of the western United States.

Nationally, an average of three human cases of plague are reported annually. The western United States is experiencing an increase in reported cases of plague in 2015, with 14 human cases including four deaths reported. The reason for the increase is not known.