A new study finds rustic home sites in the mountains east of Albuquerque and in rural Santa Fe County are adding to the number of people infected with plague.
The study co-authored by state public health veterinarian Paul Ettestad blames a trend that has seen affluent families building homes in areas rodents once had to themselves for changing the distribution of plague in New Mexico since the 1980s. The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/Tfka3I) the disease was previously most common in low-income communities in the northwestern part of the state.
Fleas carried by rodents and prairie dogs spread the disease to people. The state's most recent death from human plague was in 2009.
The study was published earlier this year in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.