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Dept. of Rumor Control

Dept. of Rumor Control

Bubonic Plague in New York.

As an outstsanding member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy and self-appointed Grand Marshall of Rumor Control and Conspiracy Denial, it is my duty to point out the following:

Bubonic Plague is not spread from person to person.
Bubonic Plague is spread by flea-ridden rodents.
The couple in New York, who are from New Mexico, led authorities to a dead rat in their yard. Said rat tested positive for Bubonic Plague.

I am taking out the "Do Not Panic" banner.

This has been a Public Service Announcement from the VRWC Department of Rumor Control.

You may resume your regularly scheduled hunt for signs of biological terrorism.


am I the only one that gets really odd imagery of people on cobblestone roads in rags, reaching up toward the sky while moaning when hearing the word "plague"?

Yea, I get either that or frogs.

ah.. and I was looking forward to 'Plague-Watch 2002' this Winter...

Pneumonic plague, however, IS an airborn pathogen that is spread from person to person.

And, cases of Bubonic plague can become pneumonic plague.

Actually, the Plague has been shown to be around in the rats and such of southern USA (so I've heard). This is all perfectly normal.

The Plague is a disease like any other, and so it can be expected to be in the wild populations of here and there.

Rats and other rodents are good hosts for diseases like this becuase they have similar cell structure to humans, gather in groups (rats are very social animals), and in urban environments tend to be infested with fleas. The fleas are carriers of the disease, but aren't affected by it.

Fortunately, the Plage has very low infectivity. This means that even if you got a flea bite, you would probably not get the Plague. You would have to be bitten a lot, or do something very stupid to catch it.

well thanks alot.
Now I have to find something else to stress over today...

Let's keep in mind that most of the people who died from the plague, did so around 150 years ago. I think technology is on our side. =)

Reading this, I got the image of John Cleese with a cart, yelling, "BRING OUT YOUR DEAD! BRING OUT YOUR DEAD!".

"But I'm not dead yet!"

this isn't news - there are on average 4 deaths attributed to bubonic plague every year in this country.

This is such a non-story. If they had started showing symptoms while they were still in New Mexico, I bet CNN wouldn't have even bothered covering it.

Good point, Lesley. I can imagine NYT headlines in the immediate future:

"Hundreds of New Yorkers sickened--flu suspected."

"Cancer outbreak in Brooklyn--Natural occurrence?"

"103 year old man dies--doctors search for answers."

"World to end tomorrow--Women, minorities hardest hit."

I just threw that last one in because it made me laugh the first time I heard it.

Greg! You should be a media mogul. You got those headlines spot-on. Thanks for the chuckle.