Plague Detected In Fleas From Prairie Dog Die-Off

Public health officials are reporting plague showing up in fleas in southern Colorado. The insects tested positive for plague after being gathered from a prairie dog population that had died off.

The disease has the potential to spill over to other animals and pets, according to Jennifer House, with the state health department, and she urges residents to be watchful.

“If there is a sudden die off, particularly of prairie dogs or squirrels, they should report that to the local health department," House says.

She says these cases could be linked to recent wet weather, which encourages rodent population growth.

This the second known case reported this year. In June, a 16-year-old in Larimer County resident was killed by a rare bacterial infection called septicemic plague.

For humans, symptoms include high fever, chills and tender lymph glands. Health officials urge people avoid rodents and wear insect repellent.