In a follow-up to an earlier report on a human plague death in Larimer County, Colorado, multiple local news sources have identified the victim of the lethal bacterial infection as 16-year-old Poudre High School student, Taylor Gaes.
Reports note that the teen contracted a more serious and rare form of the plague known as septicemic. He likely contracted the rare disease on his family’s property in the Cherokee Park area northeast of Fort Collins, said Katie O’Donnell, of the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment.
Gaes died on June 8, one day after his birthday.
There are three forms of human plague; bubonic, septicemic and pneumonic.
Bubonic plague: This is the most common form. In this form, the bacteria enter the body through the bite of an infected flea or rodent. Here the bacteria infect the lymphatic system. After a few days to week, the person will experience fever, chills, weakness, and swollen lymph glands. These are called buboes.
In the U.S., bubonic plague is sporadic, primarily in the West. Typically, there are around 10 cases annually in this country.
Untreated bubonic plague is fatal about half the time. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page.
Septicemic plague: This form is also contracted from a flea or rodent bite. Sometimes it appears subsequent to untreated bubonic or pneumonic plague. It involves bloodstream dissemination to all areas of the body. Buboes do not occur. Symptoms are endotoxic shock and disseminated intravascular coagulation. Untreated septicemic plague is nearly always fatal.
Pneumonic plague: Probably the most serious form of plague and it’s when the bacteria infect the lungs and cause pneumonia. It is contracted when the bacteria is inhaled (primary) or develops when bubonic or septicemic plague spreads to the lungs.
Pneumonic plague is contagious and can be transmitted person to person. It is highly communicable under appropriate climate conditions, overcrowding and cool temperatures. Untreated pneumonic plague is frequently fatal.
To check out and donate to the Taylor Gaes Family Support Fund, go to GoFundMe.com