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7 tips about the plague in Colorado and how not to contract it

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Posted at 12:36 PM, Nov 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-04 14:36:04-04

DENVER -- With new reported cases of the plague in wild animals in Colorado, some pet owners and outdoor enthusiasts are concerned about the potential to contract the ancient bacteria. 

Carried in fleas that are commonly attracted to rodents like mice, rabbits, prairie dogs and more, victims of the plague can be human and nonhuman alike. 

A host of tips can prevent the plague -- both for you and your pets. 

1.) Don't allow pets to roam freely and don't run off trails where possible. 

2.) Don't feed prairie dogs or other rodents -- no matter how cute they are! They will keep coming back, raising the potential for disease transmission. 

3.) Be on the lookout for dead animals, animal die-offs. Report large die-offs when they occur and avoid dead animals at all costs. 

4.) While hiking, wear proper attire that is treated with insect repellent. 

5.) Do not let pets -- especially pets that travel outdoors -- sleep in bed with you. The potential for disease transmission greatly rises if they rest where you sleep. 

6.) Remove habitats for rodents, including piles of lumber, broken cement, trash and weeds around homes, cabins and outbuildings 

7.) Treat symptoms seriously and treat early -- the plague can easily be treated with antibiotics in those who take quick action. 

Symptoms of the plague to look for two to six days after hiking, hunting or sleeping with an outdoor animal: 

1.) Sudden onset of high fever.

2.) Muscle pain.

3.) Malaise or a general feeling of being ill.

4.) Nausea and vomiting.


Cases of the plague are centralized in the western part of the United States, making this knowledge vital for all Coloradans. Click here for more from the Center for Disease Control. 

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