New Mexico Teen Gets Plague It's the first US case of 2013 By Matt Cantor, Newser User Posted Aug 16, 2013 3:17 AM CDT 16 comments Comments Fleas can transmit plague to humans. (Shutterstock) (Newser) – Not long ago, authorities detected plague in a California squirrel; now, New Mexico is home to the country's first human case of 2013. Typically, about seven Americans get the bacterial illness each year, and in this first instance, the afflicted is a 15-year-old boy. People usually contract it via flea bites, the Los Angeles Times notes, though the disease can occur through contact with other animals. New Mexico health officials are looking into whether anyone close to the boy might have contracted it. Plague can kill, but antibiotics are generally effective in fighting the disease, which can include fever, headaches, and painfully swollen glands. There hasn't been an urban plague epidemic stateside since 1925, the Times notes. KOB adds that New Mexico has seen nine human plague cases since 2009, one of which was fatal.