A Highly Contagious Virus Is Spreading In Colorado Amongst Animals

Matt Lillywhite

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From 1346 to 1353, The Black Death was a plague pandemic that swept over Afro-Eurasia. It was the deadliest pandemic in human history, killing 75–200 million people in Eurasia and North Africa. So, now that we've got a brief history lesson completed, it's time to discuss what's happening right now in the United States of America.

After numerous squirrels recently died of plague in Colorado Springs, El Paso County Public Health is urging homeowners to take steps to avoid exposure to the deadly disease. Quoting Haley Zachary, communicable disease program manager for El Paso County Public Health:

"We want to alert people to the fact that wild rodents and other small mammals in this area may be infected with plague, which is more common during cooler summers after wet winters. By taking simple preventive measures, residents can help protect themselves and their pets."

The local health department recommends the following steps to safeguard humans and pets:

  • Do not touch any wild animals.
  • Keep your pet away from dead animals, such as rats and rabbits.
  • Don't feed wildlife, as it could draw them closer to your home, increasing the danger of disease transmission.

While most plague activity occurs in Colorado during the summer, it's worth noting that rodents can carry the plague disease throughout the year. It can also spread to other animal species such as household cats and dogs. Quoting an article published by the CDC:

"Humans usually get plague after being bitten by a rodent flea that is carrying the plague bacterium or by handling an animal infected with the plague. Plague is infamous for killing millions of people in Europe during the Middle Ages. Today, modern antibiotics are effective in treating the plague. Without prompt treatment, the disease can cause serious illness or death."

According to the CDC, symptoms in humans include fever, headache, chills, weakness, and enlarged lymph nodes. The bacteria that causes the plague (yersinia pestis) spread in the lymph node nearest to wherever they entered the body.

So, if you have any symptoms, it's important to get medical attention immediately. After all, the plague bacteria could spread to other regions of the body and cause severe disease if treatment isn't provided quickly enough.

Are you concerned about the spread of plague and other diseases in the state of Colorado? Please share your thoughts in the comments area below.

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