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Last Updated

14 Nov 2002

Source: Reuters, November 14, 2002.

Woman Who Had Bubonic Plague Leaves NY Hospital

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New Mexico woman diagnosed with bubonic plague has been released from a Manhattan hospital after recovering from the disease, but her husband remains hospitalized in critical condition, officials said on Wednesday.

Lucinda Marker, 47, was discharged from Beth Israel Medical Center a week after hospital and city health department officials disclosed she and her husband were believed to have contracted the deadly bacterial disease.

"She is completely recovered," hospital spokesman Mike Quane said.

If detected early, plague can be treated with antibiotics.

Her husband, 53-year-old John Tull, is still in critical condition, Quane said. The hospital said earlier this week that Tull's condition had improved slightly but remained critical.

The case is believed to be the first instance of bubonic plague in New York in a century. About a dozen cases of the disease are diagnosed in the United States each year, mostly in the rural Southwestern states including New Mexico.

Health department officials suspect the couple contracted plague from rodents on their property in Santa Fe, New Mexico. They became ill while visiting New York earlier this month.

Bubonic plague, a disease of rodents transmitted to humans through the bites of infected fleas, is usually not communicable among people, health officials say.

Pneumonic plague, a more serious form of the disease, occurs when plague bacteria are inhaled after direct contact with infected rodents and other animals.