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The plague has come to Michigan – and it's nothing to worry about

Sep 15, 2015

Plague doctors were special physicians paid by the city to treat those suffering from the plague in the 14th century.

Bubonic plague has found its way to Michigan.

The so-called “Black Death” killed anywhere from 75 million up to 200 million people in Europe and the Middle East throughout the 14th century.

We’re talking between 30% and 60% of Europe’s total population. People who seemed healthy when they went to bed at night could be dead by morning.

That’s why news of Michigan’s first documented case of bubonic plague caught many by surprise.

Dr. Eden Wells is Michigan’s chief medical executive, and she rushes to assure us that we have little cause for concern.

“This is actually one of the least contagious. It is not a contagious form of the plague,” she says.

Wells tells us the CDC receives around half a dozen cases of plague in the U.S. each year, but they’re usually all in the western half of the country.

She suspects that the patient contracted the plague while hiking through Colorado.

To further allay our fears, Wells explains that the plague in this form is not contagious and can be treated with antibiotics.

She tells us that the patient is doing well.

Dr. Eden Wells teaches us more about the bubonic plague and its history in our conversation above.