Plague found in fleas in open space in southeast Boulder

BOULDER, Colo. - Fleas collected in an open space area in southeast Boulder have tested positive for plague.

This is the first time plague activity has been confirmed in Boulder County this season.

Flea samples were taken northeast of Cherryvale and South Boulder roads after a resident noticed prairie dogs had died off and called Boulder County Public Health.

Boulder County officials said the neighborhood area has been posted with signs listing precautionary measures to avoid plague.

Plague occurs naturally in Colorado and is an infectious disease spread by fleas to wild rodents and other small mammals, such as, squirrels, rats, prairie dogs, and rabbits.

Household pets, such as dogs and especially cats, can get plague or carry infected fleas home to their owners. In rare instances, plague can be transmitted to people from cats sick with plague.

Symptoms of plague include high fever, extreme fatigue, and painful swollen lymph nodes, experts say. Anyone observing these symptoms in a person or pet should contact their health care provider or veterinarian immediately. Plague can be treated with antibiotics, but the treatment is most successful when the disease can be diagnosed quickly.

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