These Are Precautions You Can Take to Avoid the Plague, According to Health Experts
La Plata County local public-health agencies and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment have confirmed plague in fleas and animals within six counties in Colorado, and are urging residents to be proactive and cautious.
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment alongside local public health agencies are investigating the presence of plague after the death of a child.
The 10-year-old resident of La Plata County "died from causes associated with plague," the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said in a news release.
“Plague is caused by bacteria (Yersinia pestis) that can be transmitted to humans by the bites of infected fleas or by direct contact with infected animals,” according to the release.
“Plague is frequently detected in rock squirrels, woodrats, and other species of ground squirrels and chipmunks.”
According to the statement, both animals and fleas within six counties in Colorado have tested positive for the plague.
Jennifer House, deputy state epidemiologist and public health veterinarian for CDPHE, said in a statement that it is normal to see positive results in fleas in the area, but that "Awareness and precautions can help prevent the disease in people,"
Some of the symptoms included a sudden on-set of fever and/or swollen lymph nodes, according to the statement.
A few precautions that the statement released include:
- Avoid fleas. Protect pets with a veterinary approved flea treatment and keep them on a leash and out of wild rodent habitats.
- Stay out of areas where wild rodents live. If you enter areas inhabited by wild rodents, wear insect repellent and tuck your pant cuffs into your socks to prevent flea bites.
- Do not touch sick or dead animals.
- Consult with a professional pest control company to treat the area around your home for fleas.
"While it's rare for people to contract plague, we want to make sure everyone knows the symptoms. The disease is treatable if caught early." said House.
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