Oh, Nuts: Colorado Squirrel Tests Positive for Plague
A Colorado squirrel has tested positive for plague, but officials say there is no need for alarm.
According to Denver7, the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) confirmed the case last week in El Paso County. Thankfully, modern medicine has made the disease a low risk to humans, as long as proper precautions are taken.
In order to avoid plague like, well...the plague, the CDPHE recommends staying away from wildlife, checking pets for fleas, and keeping an eye out for abnormal death rates among community rodents and rabbits.
However, plague can be spread to humans through flea bites or sick animals.
If you've had an exposure or feel symptoms — such as sudden fever, chills, sore lymph nodes, or weakness — reach out to your doctor immediately for treatment. If detected early, the disease can usually be cured with antibiotics.
It's important to be aware of your pet's behavior too. Dr. Jennifer House, the state public health veterinarian, told Denver7 that plague can spread to domestic dogs and cats.
Squirrels did cause a human plague case in Colorado last year, but the infected individual recovered without spreading it to others.
Avoid the squirrels (and the prairie dogs) and you should be fine.
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