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Colorado reports 1st human plague case since 2015, officials say there’s no increased risk to public

Squirrel on tree
Posted at 9:45 PM, Jul 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-16 23:45:12-04

A southwest Colorado resident was infected with plague after exposure to sick squirrels earlier this summer, the first confirmed case of the disease in humans in the state since 2015. But health officials emphasized that the public only needs to take normal precautions.

Plague, a bacterial disease that’s typically carried by fleas but also can spread through respiratory droplets, has been in Colorado since the 1940s, said Dr. Jennifer House, state public health veterinarian for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Infected wild animals have been found in Jefferson, Adams and Broomfield counties this year, though the disease can circulate in rodent communities around the state.

“While we see most plague activity during the summer, the disease can be found in rodents year-round and sometimes spills over into other wildlife species as well as domestic cats and dogs,” she said.

Read the rest from our partners at The Denver Post.