7-Year-Old Colorado Girl Recovers From Bubonic Plague

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The parents of 7-year-old Sierra Jane Downing thought she had the flu when she felt sick days after camping in southwest Colorado.

An emergency room doctor who saw her for a seizure and 107-degree fever wasn't sure what was wrong either.

The girl was then flown to Denver, where a pediatric doctor at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children got the first inkling that she had bubonic plague. The doctor figured it out using Sierra Jane's symptoms, a history of where she'd been and an online journal search.

The bubonic plague hasn't been confirmed in a human in Colorado since 2006. Federal health officials say an average of seven cases are reported in the U.S. each year.

Doctors said Wednesday Sierra Jane is recovering and could go home within a week.

Darcy Downing says her daughter may have been infected by insects near a dead squirrel she wanted to bury.


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