Rabbit With Bubonic Plague Found In Jefferson County

Health Department Issues Warning

A rabbit with bubonic plague has been found in the Morrison area, prompting health officials to issue a warning.

The animal was found near the east entrance to Mount Falcon Park -- the same area in which several domestic cats tested positive for plague in 2004, health officials said Thursday.

The Jefferson County Department of Health and Environment posted signs to remind citizens to take precautions to prevent exposure.

"Rodents, such as rabbits and prairie dogs, as well as cats are especially susceptible to plague, and this is the beginning of the 2005 plague season," said Dr. Jim Dale, the director of Environmental Health Services for the county. "It is important for the public to follow precautions to prevent exposure to plague."

Bubonic plague is transmitted through fleas that have bitten plague-infected animals. Humans can be infected with plague through bites from infected fleas, by the cough from an infected animal, or by direct contact with blood or tissues of infected animals.

It usually takes from two to six days for plague to incubate, according to health officials. Typical symptoms include sudden onset of fever and chills, severe headache, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting and a general feeling of systemic illness. Lymph node pain and swelling is a suggestive symptom of bubonic plague.

For more information on plague and other animal-borne diseases in Jefferson County, please call the Environmental Health Services Zoonosis Program at (303) 271-5755 or visit http://health.jeffco.us.

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