Residents in Boulder County, Colorado, have been warned to protect themselves and their pets against the plague. Notices have been posted around one property that covers 44 acres after a variety of small mammals and wild rodents have been found infected with the disease.
The plague is more commonly known as The Black Death and killed millions of people around the world in the Middle Ages. While it was once a killer, antibiotics can now treat the symptoms. However, there are different forms of the disease, with some more serious than others.
Pet owners in Colorado are being warned to keep an eye out as they are more susceptible to the disease. It is transmitted by fleas, which latch themselves onto pets. Animals are more likely to be infected first, but the fleas can transfer onto humans. Pneumonic plague is contagious between humans through coughing and sneezing. This is the most dangerous form of the disease.
A number of different animals have been found dead of the plague, including prairie dogs, rabbits and squirrels. One of the first warnings that pet owners are being given is to keep their pets away from any “sick or dead rodents.” It is not hygienic anyway but it could be more of a cause for concern right now. The fleas may still be alive on the dead rodents and can pass onto the living pets.
Colorado residents are being warned to do as much as possible to protect themselves and their animals against the plague. One of the best things to do is use a flea powder or shampoo on a regular basis. A flea collar is another option, which will help to deter the infected creatures.
It is best to remain away from areas that have been known to be infected, but that can be difficult for animals to understand. When taking pets for a walk, it is important to encourage them to stay out by keeping them on a lead at all times. Avoid wild rodents while out too, including squirrels. They could be infected or carry the fleas.
Rodents can get into the homes, so protecting the area from them is important. Avoid leaving trash and waste around the grounds of the property or inside the home. Clean up even the smallest of spills, including bread and biscuit crumbs. Even if there are no signs of infestation in the home, it could be worth setting up rodent traps to be safe. It can take time to see evidence of rodents in the home. Use flea powder around the areas that are known to be infested with rodents in the home.
This continues to be a serious threat. While not all forms of the disease are contagious, it does not remove the distress. Many forms are carried by fleas and humans are infected by bites, especially pet owners. Pneumonic plague is the only one that is contagious, but can be treated with antibiotics. It is important to protect the family from this disease, and that is something Colorado officials are warning residents.
By Alexandria Ingham