There are few things worse in the world than a sick child, but a little girl with the bubonic plague? That's got to take the cake. Sierra Jane Downing was camping with her family in Southern Colorado, and five days later, she was vomiting and seizing. Her parents took her to the hospital, and while doctors were initially able to lower her fever from 107 to 103, it was still touch and go there for while. That is, until a quick-thinking and acting doctor put it together somehow, amazingly, that Sierra Jane had contracted the Black Death from a dead squirrel. The 7-year-old had reportedly placed her sweatshirt next to the animal, then tied the garment around her waist, and the rest is unbelievable history. I mean, the bubonic plague?! Jesus.
Doctors say they haven't seen a case of the Black Death in Colorado since 2006, which, um, is shocking to learn since I thought this disease was kind of a non-issue. Seeing as it wiped out one third of Europe about 500 years ago, I thought the plague somehow vanished into thin air, like a hurricane after its destruction, or Nick Carter once Justin Timberlake came onto the scene. Guess not.
And obviously, no one is more aware of its presence than Sierra Jane and her family. Once Dr. Jennifer Snow (the quick-thinking one mentioned above) discovered that S.J. had the plague, she put her on a course of antibiotics, and soon, the little girl will be good as new. She could be home by the end of this week. Phenomenal.
Thank god for science, thank god for Dr. Snow, and thank god that Sierra Jane is going to be OK. What strength! If Sierra's ever nervous about going on a first date, she can remind herself that it won't be worse than that time she had the bubonic plague. Added bonus? She can give a great oral history in European history class when they get to the part where the disease wipes out a sizable chunk of the population.
Sierra Jane, her family, her doctors -- they're all fighters. What an amazing story with an amazingly happy ending. Here's to not hearing about another kid getting the bubonic plague ever, ever again.
Photo via abc.com