Colorado Springs, Colorado (KKTV) – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) sent information Friday about plague activity present in the state.
As of Friday, there were at least two confirmed cases of plague this summer. The last case was reported to the state health department Thursday of a resident of a rural county. The district wasn’t exactly shared in the release, but this article will be updated if the department is able to share this information. The first case was diagnosed earlier this summer in a resident of southwest Colorado.
In both confirmed cases, people were exposed to sick animals. One of them was exposed to a squirrel and the other was caught.
Click here to read more from CDPHE on the plague.
Plague is most commonly spread to people by the bite of an infected flea, but it may also be transmitted through infected animal tissues, fluids, or respiratory droplets. Infected fleas can be found near areas where several rodents or rabbits have died – avoiding these areas and not allowing pets or other animals to explore these areas will reduce the risk of contracting plague. Citizens directly exposed to fleas or wildlife in affected areas may be exposed to danger. People who think they have been infected should contact a healthcare provider immediately. Symptoms include sudden fever, headache, chills, weakness, and painful lymph nodes. Although there are no publicly available vaccines to prevent plague in people, if caught early, it can be treated successfully with antibiotics in both people and pets. “
The state health department has included some precautions the public can take to protect themselves and their pets:
Do not deal directly with any wildlife.
Keep pets away from wildlife, especially dead rodents and rabbits.
Do not let dogs or cats hunt prairie dogs, squirrels, mice, other rodents, or rabbits.
Do not allow pets to roam freely.
Treat all pets for fleas as advised by your veterinarian.
If your pet becomes ill suddenly after coming into contact with wildlife, contact a veterinarian immediately.
Do not feed wildlife – this attracts them to your property, puts 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 pets.
Be aware of rodent and rabbit populations in your area, and report to your local health department about sudden deaths or multiple dead animals.
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