I saw an article today that discussed the Los Angeles County child who contracted plague at Yosemite National Park and the author writes in the title that this was the 3rd case of human plague in the US so far in 2015.

Is this correct?

According to our count at Outbreak News Today, there has been six cases to date. Colorado has reported four human cases with two deaths, there is the California case reported above and there has been one fatal case reported in a Santa Fe County, New Mexico woman.

Is this unusual for the US? The answer is no.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says in recent decades, an average of 7 human plague cases are reported each year (range: 1-17 cases per year) in the US.

In fact, during the last decade (2000-2009), the United States ranked 11th in number of human plague cases during the decade (57).

The last plague epidemic in the US was about 90 years ago in Los Angeles. Today, most human cases in the United States occur in two regions: Northern New Mexico, northern Arizona, and southern Colorado AND California, southern Oregon, and far western Nevada.

Yersinia pestis
Produced by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), this digitally-colorized scanning electron micrograph (SEM) depicts a number of purple-colored Yersinia pestis bacteria that had gathered on the proventricular spines of a Xenopsylla cheopis flea./CDC