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Test confirms Georgia patient has plague
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The Georgia Department of Public Health has confirmed that a Georgian has come down with bubonic plague.

Public-health officials said Wednesday that initial tests have identified a case of the plague in Georgia.

A Department of Public Health spokeswoman told Georgia Health News that tests by the state show an individual in Georgia has the disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention test results were not yet complete.

The patient has the bubonic version of the plague, which is less transmissible than the pneumonic version, said the spokeswoman, Nancy Nydam.

The individual, whose name has not been released, returned to Georgia last week from hiking in California and then became sick, Nydam said. The patient has been hospitalized and treated with antibiotics and was expected to be released soon.

Health officials say the patient will fully recover, but there may be lingering symptoms for a few days.

The plague, an infectious bacterial disease, is infamous for killing millions of people in Europe during the Middle Ages, when its cause was unknown, and unsanitary conditions sometimes allowed it to spread uncontrollably. But the plague now is well understood, public-health practices have greatly limited its spread, and modern antibiotics are effective in treating it.

The disease first arrived in the United States in 1900.

From then through 2012, more than 1,000 confirmed or probable human plague cases occurred across the nation, but there had never been a recorded case of human plague in Georgia.

Currently, there is an investigation into plague-infected animals in Yosemite National Park, Sierra National Forest and surrounding areas in California where hiking is common.

One human case of plague already had been confirmed in the Golden State.

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