COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) sent out information on Friday about plague activity being present in the state.
As of Friday, there were at least two confirmed human cases of the plague this summer. The latest case was reported to the state health department on Thursday for a resident from a rural county. The exact county was not shared in the release, but this article will be updated if the department is able to share that information. The first case was diagnosed earlier this summer in a resident from southwest Colorado.
In both confirmed cases, the people had exposure to sick animals. One person was exposed to a squirrel and the other person was exposed to a cat.
Click here to read more from CDPHE on plague.
“Plague is most commonly spread to people by the bite of an infected flea but also may be transmitted by infected animal tissues, fluids, or respiratory droplets. Infected fleas may be found near areas where multiple rodents or rabbits have died – avoiding these areas and not allowing pets or other animals to explore these areas will decrease the risk of getting plague. Citizens with direct exposure to fleas or wildlife in the affected areas may be at risk. People who think they have been exposed should contact a health care provider immediately. Symptoms include sudden fever, headache, chills, weakness, and tender, painful lymph nodes. While there are no publically available vaccines to prevent plague in people, if caught early, it can be successfully treated with antibiotics in both people and pets.”
The state health department included some precautions the public can take to protect themselves and their pets:
-Do not directly handle any wildlife.
-Keep pets away from wildlife, especially dead rodents and rabbits.
-Don’t let dogs or cats hunt prairie dogs, squirrels, voles, other rodents, or rabbits.
-Don’t allow pets to roam freely.
-Treat all pets for fleas according to a veterinarian’s advice.
-If your pet develops a sudden illness after contact with wildlife call a veterinarian immediately.
-Do not feed wildlife — this attracts them to your property, brings them in close contact, and increases the risk of disease transmission.
-Do not attempt to remove or kill prairie dogs. This may increase the risk of plague for you and your domestic animals.
-Be aware of rodent and rabbit populations in your area, and report sudden die-offs or multiple dead animals to your local health department.
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