Plague has been found in six counties from Colorado after a ten-year-old girl died from causes that are associated with the disease. If not treated, the disease can be fatal.
CDPHE – The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment has confirmed cases in samples of animals and fleas.
Jennifer House, deputy state epidemiologist, stated, “In Colorado, we expect to have fleas test positive for plague during the summer months. While it’s rare for people to contract the plague, we want to make sure everyone knows the symptoms.”
The plague can be transmitted right from direct contact with infected animals or if you’re bitten by a flea that’s infected.
A local fourth-grader from La Plata County died from the illness associated with the plague. She had hogs.
Officials collected fleas after residents complained about a local prairie dog colony was nowhere to be found. Prairie dogs are very susceptible to plague, and if they suddenly disappear, it is a done deal.
CDPHE advised people to contact their local public health agency, should they see a decreased rodent activity in an area where they usually see them. They also said not to kill prairie dogs, as this can increase the risk of transmitting the plague.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms are fever and swollen lymph nodes. It’s treatable with antibiotics if caught early. But if left untreated, it can lead to complications or death.
Seven cases in humans happen every year in the U.S, the majority coming from the northern New Mexico. It was mostly found in the bubonic form. The plague killed 50 million people in Europe, Africa and Asia in the 14th century – we all know the story of the Black Death.