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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sierra Jane Downing: Colorado girl diagnosed with Bubonic plague, in state's first case of the archaic illness since 2006

Doctors believe Sierra Jane Downing contracted the disease, also known as the 'black death', from a dead squirrel while camping with her family in Pagosa Springs. Fleas are common transmitters of the plague.

The girl's parents rushed her to the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children a week ago and from there she was flown by helicopter to Presbyterian St Luke's Medical Center in Denver, running a high fever.

'She originally presented with a temperature of 107 degrees,' Dr Wendi Drummond told 9 News. 'She had also had a seizure.'

Dr Drummond along with colleague Dr Jennifer Snow diagnosed Sierra with the rare condition, which killed some 25 million people when it swept through Europe in the 14th century.

'She had a high heart rate and low blood pressure,' Dr Snow said. 'It all originally pointed to signs of what's called septic shock.'

Neither woman had seen a case of the plague before but the more they investigated, the more they began to suspect that it was what Sierra had contracted. Read More