A resident from eastern Colorado is in the hospital, being treated for a rare form of plague.
Lab tests by Colorado’s health department found the person, who has not been identified, contracted pneumonic plague.
The disease potentially fatal and can be spread through person-to-person contact.
The family dog recently died and also tested positive for plague, which is commonly spread by fleas on rodents like the prairie dog.
Dr. Jennifer House, the state’s public health veterinarian, urges people to avoid contact with dead wildlife. "[Residents should] keep their pets on a leash when walking and not allow dogs and cats either to roam freely where they can hunt wildlife, specifically prairie dogs,” House says.
Colorado has seen 12 cases of plague in the past decade, but this is the first case of pneumonic plague since 2004. Public health officials are looking for people who might have had contact with the patient, who has been hospitalized for a week and is being treated with antibiotics.