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Bubonic plague cases still exist: Know the symptoms

A failure to diagnose the real cause of a 7-year-old's fever could have led to a deadly scenario. Instead, a persistent doctor identified the first case of bubonic plague to appear in Colorado in more than six years.

The girl's parents were convinced that she had more than the flu, but when her fever reached 107 degrees, a sharp emergency room physician insisted that she be airlifted to a children's hospital in Denver where her condition was finally identified. It is believed she contracted the bacteria while trying to bury a squirrel on a family camping trip.

The bubonic plague is caused by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis and can be transmitted by fleas and animal bites. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stress that the disease is very rare and in no way poses an epidemic or endemic threat to the population. Bubonic plague can be treated with antibiotics, but early identification is key to the success of the treatment. If the disease is misdiagnosed, it is likely that the patient will not recover.

Failure to diagnose deadly diseases can cause death and permanent disability. A patient or the family of a victim of misdiagnosis on the part of a health care professional that led to death or serious illness may be entitled to compensation. The patient or family members can receive legal advice from a professional personal injury attorney to learn about their rights and how they can go about recovering damages for medical malpractice.

Source: Fox 51 News, "The bubonic plague: It's still with us," Steven Reinberg, Sept. 7, 2012.

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