New Mexico health officials say an elderly man in Torrance County has contracted the plague.

State officials said Friday the 72-year-old man is the first reported human case of the disease in New Mexico since 2017.

Staff of the New Mexico Department of Health have gone door-to-door in the affected area to warn neighbors and help them reduce the risk.

Health officials say plague is generally transmitted by the bites of infected fleas living among rodents and rabbits. It can also be transmitted by direct contact with infected animals.

Symptoms include a sudden fever, chills, headache and weakness. There may be painful swelling of lymph nodes.

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