Officials in Northern Arizona have discovered the plague in fleas found in a park outside of Flagstaff. Coconino County health officials found the diseased bugs in burrows where the region’s once-thriving population of prairie dogs used to live in Doney Park, about 20 miles outside of the biggest city in Northern Arizona. There is no evidence that the plagued-ridden bugs led to the dying-off of the prairie dogs.
According to the report on ABC 15, Coconino County Public Health Services District have informed residents of the find, and have began taking steps as precautions to help curb the spread of the disease. The report goes on to advise possible plague victims on what to look out for.
“The CCPHSD said symptoms typically appear in humans within two to six days following exposure to the disease. Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, weakness, muscle pain and swollen lymph glands in the groin, armpits or limbs.”
The plague is usually carried in infected rodents, rabbits, and the common flea. The insect feeds off the blood of these small animals, which makes for the perfect carrier. Health officials in Arizona have released a list of steps to try and curb the spread of the disease.
TIPS TO LOWER RISK OF BEING EXPOSED TO THE PLAGUE:
- Do not handle sick or dead animals
- Prevent pets from roaming loose. Pets can pick up the infected fleas of wild animals and then pass fleas on to their owners. Cats with plague can also pass the disease onto humans directly through respiratory droplets.
- Note: Be aware, cats are highly susceptible to this disease.
- De-flea pets routinely.
- Avoid exposure to rodent burrows and fleas.
- Use insect repellents when visiting or working in areas where plague might be active or rodents might be present
- Wear rubber gloves and other protection when cleaning and skinning wild animals.
- Do not camp next to rodent burrows and avoid sleeping directly on the ground.
- If feeling ill, contact doctor right away.
The plague, also known as the Bubonic Plague or The Black Death, wiped out 25 million people, or over 30 percent of Europe’s population, in the early 14th century. According to the information from TheMiddleAges.net, the disease, which many historians argue started in China and was spread by rats and fleas, proved troublesome until medicine and sanitation caught up to the ravenous killer in the 16th century.
The plague found in Arizona comes on the heels of another plague scare earlier this summer in Colorado. As reported in The Inquisitr, the Pneumonic Plague, a lesser version of the devastating disease, affected citizens in Colorado in July. Hopefully, Coconino County officials have caught and diagnosed the infected fleas in time to prevent widespread plague illness in the state of Arizona and surrounding areas.
[Images courtesy of Google]