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Cat tests positive for plague in central Colorado

A domestic cat has tested positive for Yersinia pestis, the bacterial agent of plague, according to Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH). The cat, from the Evergreen area, is now under the care of a veterinarian.

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Dave Volkel, JCPH Environmental Health Specialist said, “Everyone is reminded of the importance of keeping their pets from roaming free and using appropriate flea control products to minimize the risk of plague.”

It is not uncommon for cats to become infected with plague in an environment where plague is circulating.

Plague is a bacterial disease of rodents and is generally transmitted to humans through the bites of infected fleas. It can also be transmitted by direct contact with infected animals, including rodents, wildlife and pets.

Symptoms of plague in humans include sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, and weakness. In most cases there is a painful swelling of the lymph node in the groin, armpit or neck areas. Plague symptoms in cats and dogs are fever, lethargy and loss of appetite. There may be a swelling in the lymph node under the jaw. With prompt diagnosis and appropriate antibiotic treatment, the fatality rate in people and pets can be greatly reduced.

Public Health officials remind citizens to take the following precautions to protect their animals and their families from plague:

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