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According to the Pueblo Department of Public Health, a rare case of human Plague has been confirmed in Colorado.

The Department of Public Health confirmed they are investigating the source of an infection in a Pueblo County resident. This resident, who was hospitalized, has been preliminarily diagnosed with bubonic plague. According to a press release, people can contract the plague through bites from infected fleas, handling or skinning infected animals, or inhaling droplets from the cough of an infected person or animal.


In a statement, the agency advised residents of symptoms related to the Plague, including “Sudden fever and chills, severe headache, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting and a feeling of illness.”

In response to the confirmed case, the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment has issued several precautionary recommendations:

  • Avoid contact with dead animals.
  • Eliminate rodent habitats around homes, garages, and recreational areas by removing brush, rock piles, trash, and lumber.
  • Store pet food in rodent-proof containers to reduce attraction.
  • Prevent pets from hunting or roaming in areas populated by rodents, such as prairie dog colonies.

Digging Deeper:
According to the CDC, the Plague is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Though the disease is infamous for its historical devastation during the Middle Ages, modern antibiotics can effectively treat it if administered promptly. Despite its rarity, the Plague persists in rural areas of the western United States, as well as in some regions of Africa and Asia, with an average of seven cases reported annually in the U.S. between 1970 and 2022, totaling approximately 500 cases.


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