Fleas collected and tested as part of a surveillance program by the Coconino County Public Health Services District Environmental Health tested positive for Yersinia pestis, or the plague, according to a ABC 15 news report Wednesday afternoon.
The surveillance testing, being performed to due prairie dogs deaths, was performed from burrows being monitored in the area near Doney Park.
Residents in the area were notified of the positive test and those burrows have since been treated. Plague is endemic in the county and this was the first confirmation of plague activity in the area this year.
Plague is an infectious disease spread by fleas to wild rodents and other small mammals, such as, squirrels, rats, prairie dogs, and rabbits. Bubonic plague is the most common form of plague and occurs after a bite from an infected flea. Plague can spread to humans when infected fleas from squirrels, prairie dogs, and other wild rodents bite a human.
Symptoms of plague include high fever, extreme fatigue, and painful swollen lymph nodes (called bubos). Anyone observing these symptoms in a person or pet should contact their health care provider or veterinarianimmediately. Plague can be treated with antibiotics, but the treatment is most successful when the disease can be diagnosed quickly. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page