Plague Found In 6 Colorado Counties After Girl’s Death

by Jeremy

Health officials in Colorado are asking people to take precautions after the plague was detected in six counties, including where a 10-year-old girl recently died from causes associated with the infectious disease, which can turn serious if not immediately untreated.

The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) announced Thursday the rise of laboratory-confirmed cases among samples of fleas and animals, which is not unusual during this time of year.

“In Colorado, we expect to have fleas test positive for plague during the summer months,” said Jennifer House, deputy state epidemiologist and public health veterinarian for CDPHE. “While it’s rare for people to contract the plague, we want to make sure everyone knows the symptoms.”

Plague can be transmitted to humans from direct contact with infected animals or if a person is bitten by an infected flea.

Plague can be transmitted to humans from direct contact with infected animals or if an infected flea bites a person.

In La Plata County, located in the southwest corner of the state, laboratory tests confirmed a local fourth-grader who reportedly raised hogs died on July 5 from an illness associated with the plague. The Durango Herald reported that her official cause of death could not be confirmed until additional testing was completed.

Fleas were collected from the county for testing after residents reported that a local prairie dog colony had gone silent and was no longer visible, The Colorado Sun reported. According to CDPHE, prairie dogs are susceptible to plague and are good indicators of the disease if they suddenly disappear. If you notice decreased rodent activity in an area where you usually see active rodents, contact your local public health agency,” the CDPHE said while also asking locals not to kill prairie dogs on their property as this could increase the risk of plague transmission if it is present.

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