Ten-Year-Old Girl Dies of Plague in Colorado in the First Case in Years
According to local medics, the plague has been present in Colorado since at least the 1940s. Prairie dogs, squirrels, chipmunks, and other rodents may be carrying fleas that can transmit the fatal disease to humans.
A 10-year-old girl has died from the plague in La Plata County in southwestern Colorado, marking the first fatality from the disease since 2015.
"We are so sad for the loss of this young Coloradan and our deepest condolences go to the family", state veterinarian Dr Jennifer House stated. "Public Health is doing an epidemiological investigation and wants Coloradans to know that while this disease is very rare, it does occur sometimes, and to seek medical care if you have symptoms".
— Denver7 News (@DenverChannel) July 22, 2021
The state registered 22 cases of the plague between 2005 to 2020 - with nine of them in La Plata County.
Denver Public Health warned that antibiotics are effective against the infection - however, the disease can cause "serious illness or death" if medications are not taken in time. Plague symptoms include fever, headache, chills, swollen lymph nodes, and pneumonia-like symptoms in some cases.
The medical authorities urged locals to avoid prairie dogs and other wild creatures, and not to kill them as well, as fleas might start searching for a new host soon after their carrier is dead, spreading to other animals.