Girl With Bubonic Plague Removed From ICU

Girl Is In Stable Condition

A 7-year-old Pagosa Springs girl diagnosed with bubonic plague was removed from the pediatric Intensive Care Unit Monday, according to the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.

According to the hospital, Sierra Jane Downing, 7, is the first human case of bubonic plague in Colorado since 2006. Pediatric infectious disease specialist, Dr. Wendi Drummond, suspected plague, and the diagnosis was confirmed through laboratory testing.

"We treat a fair number of children who present with septic shock, so we are accustomed to seeing very ill children. In this particular case, there were some very unusual features in her presentation and history which led me to suspect something more rare and serious," said Dr. Drummond.

Dr. Drummond says bubonic plague is characterized by fever, chills and the presence of very swollen and painful lymph nodes. It can progress rapidly to shock and multi organ failure.

Downing was treated in the ICU until around 3:30 p.m. Monday. Now, she is continuing to recover on the pediatric floor of the hospital.

The girl and her family plan to make a statement. The hospital says that may happen Wednesday.

Health officials believe Sierra contracted the disease while on a camping trip with her family.

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