SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Department of Health has confirmed the first human case of plague in the United States this year.
State health officials said Thursday that a 78-year-old man from Torrance County currently is hospitalized in stable condition. His name hasn't been released.
They say an environmental investigation will take place at the man's home to look for ongoing risk to others in the surrounding area.
Plague is a bacterial disease of rodents and is generally transmitted to humans through the bites of infected fleas. But it can also be transmitted by direct contact with infected animals, including rodents, wildlife and pets.
There were two human cases of plague in New Mexico last year but none in 2010. There were six cases in 2009 with one of them fatal.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.