Girl Recovers from Bubonic Plague

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DENVER -- A little girl is recovering from a rare disease that's usually associated with small rodents and their fleas. Doctors were surprised when seven-year-old Sierra Jane Downing showed up with Bubonic plague.

"I had never seen it. You learn about it in medical school in microbiology, but I've never seen a case of it before," said Dr. Jennifer Snow at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.

Another doctor said while it was unusual to see this problem, she knew it was possible for someone to have the disease.

"She originally presented with a temperature of 107 degrees," said infectious disease expert Dr. Wendi Drummond. "And her fever, her alter mental status, the fact that she was in shock."

Doctors put the girl on specific antibiotics. The treatment worked now the girl is on the road to recovery. Doctors are glad to see her getting better especially after treating such an uncommon sickness.

"I have never seen a bubonic plague case, and I hope to never see one again," Dr. Drummond said.

It has been six years since a single case of Bubonic plague has been diagnosed in Colorado.

Doctors say it's likely Downing caught the disease during a camping trip. Her parents say she had been near a dead squirrel.

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