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Pneumonic plague found in Colo. resident, pet dog PDF Print E-mail
Written by Holyoke Enterprise   

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment laboratory recently identified pneumonic plague in a Colorado resident.

Investigation revealed the family dog had recently died unexpectedly. The carcass was recovered and tested at the Colorado State University Veterinarian Diagnostic Laboratory, where tests were positive for plague.

Tri-County Health Department officials and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment are working together to investigate the source of exposure and to identify those who may have been exposed through close contact with the individual. Any individuals exposed will be recommended for antibiotic treatment.

The patient and the dog may have been exposed in eastern Adams County. Plague is spread from fleas on rodents, most commonly prairie dogs. People walking in open spaces and trails should avoid contact with rodents.

Dr. Jennifer House, public health veterinarian at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, encourages people take the following precautions to prevent plague exposure:

—Do not directly handle any dead rodents.

–Keep pets away from wildlife, especially dead rodents.

—Don’t let dogs or cats hunt prairie dogs or other rodents.

—Don’t allow pets to roam freely.

—Treat all pets for fleas according to a veterinarian’s advice.

—Do not feed prairie dogs or other rodents—this attracts them to the property, brings them in close contact with other rodents and increases the risk of disease transmission.

—Be aware of rodent populations in nearby areas and report sudden die-offs or multiple dead animals to a local health department.

Contact a physician if beginning to develop a high fever and other plague symptoms following a fleabite or direct contact with dead rodents. Symptoms of plague include a sudden onset of high fever, muscle pain, malaise, nausea and vomiting, or a general feeling of being ill.


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Holyoke Enterprise Aug. 21, 2014