By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

The Navajo County Public Health Services District has confirmed a case of human plague in the county, according to a release Friday. An investigation is ongoing and there are no known additional exposures.


Health officials are urging the public to take precautions to reduce their risk. This includes keeping pets away from rodent burrows, de-fleaing regularly, using insect repellents outdoors and using protections when handling dead animals.

They also remind people that cats are highly susceptible to the plague.

Plague is a disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis which is generally transmitted to humans from the bites of infected fleas that live among rodents and rabbits. Plague can also be transmitted by direct contact with infected animals. Pet dogs and cats can become infected with plague when they eat an infected rodent or when they get bit by an infected flea.

Symptoms of plague in humans include sudden onset of a fever, chills, headache, and weakness usually within one to seven days of becoming infected. There may be a painful swelling of the lymph node in the neck, armpit or groin areas referred to as bubonic plague. The infection can also spread to the blood, causing septicemic plague, or to the lungs, causing pneumonic plague.

With prompt diagnosis and appropriate antibiotic treatment, the fatality rate in people and pets can be greatly reduced.