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Michigan confirms state's first case of bubonic plague

LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan health officials say they have confirmed the first case of the plague by a Michigan resident.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said Monday a Marquette County resident is recovering after being treated for the bubonic plague. 33-year-old Alisha Plescher told MLive.com she got sick on Aug. 25, the day she returned from a visit to Colorado. She said had gone on a hike in an area where plague activity had been detected in animals, but did not notice getting any flea bites.

Plague is caused by bacteria occurring among wild rodents and their fleas in some areas of the western U.S. Officials say this was the 14th case nationally this year for the rare, life-threatening illness.

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That region is experiencing an increase in plague cases, four of which have been fatal. Officials don't know the cause.

Health experts say there's no concern regarding human-to-human transmission with this case. They add plague generally doesn't occur in Michigan.

Plescher told the Michigan news site she still has trouble walking because of pain from the swollen lymph nodes in her legs, but her fever -- which once spiked to 105 degrees -- is now gone. The plague can be treated with antibiotics, especially if caught early.

In June, a Colorado teenage died of the plague.

The plague killed millions of people in Europe in the Middle Ages in a series of outbreaks known as the Black Death. "Now, it's very rare, especially in the U.S. There are only about 7 to 10 cases a year, but it still exists," medical contributor Dr. Holly Phillips told "CBS This Morning." "Think of rodents in very rural states -- western states, southwest, ranches, farms -- that's likely what happened here."

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