By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

In a follow-up on the plague bacteria being confirmed in multiple squirrels in the Patty Jewett and Divine Redeemer neighborhoods in the Colorado Springs recently, the El Paso County Public Health has reported that plague has been identified in a domestic pet in the North Downtown area. No other details are available at this time.

The health department wants to remind the public to protect themselves from the plague by following these precautions::

  • Do not feed or touch wild animals, such as prairie dogs, rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels, and other rodents. Do not touch sick or dead animals.
  • Make sure your residence is as rodent-proof as possible.
  • Before and while hiking, wear insect repellent to protect from fleas.
  • Protect pets with appropriate flea control – consult your veterinarian.
  • Keep pets and children away from wild animals.

Plague is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium, Yersinia pestis. Fleas typically serve as the vector for plague.

Plague is a bacterial disease in wildlife and is generally transmitted to pets through the bites of infected fleas or after eating an infected animal.

Plague symptoms in cats and dogs are fever, lethargy and loss of appetite; there may be swelling in the lymph nodes under the jaw.

People can also get infected through direct contact with an infected animal, through inhalation and in the case of pneumonic plague, person to person.

Yersinia pestis is treatable with antibiotics if started early enough.

There are three forms of human plague; bubonic, septicemic and pneumonic.