A recent article in the White Mountain Independent addressed a prairie dog die-off in the Concho and Taylor areas as a result of fleas hosting bubonic plague. A Village resident wondered if there should be concern because Taylor is only twenty miles away. I don’t have the answer to that question and we can never be too careful.
A bright spot is that most outbreaks occur in the prairie dog population. Prairie dogs usually live at a little lower elevation with not as many pine trees as are in the Village. Plague outbreaks have been reported many times over the years and it would be wise to stay vigilant.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website has a downloadable flyer about the various forms of the plague. Who knew there were actually three?
According to the article in the Independent and the CDC flyer, humans are most likely to contract plague from their pets. Apparently, agitated fleas have killed their hosts and are looking for a replacement and sometimes light on an unsuspecting dog or cat.
From the CDC flyer: Treat dogs and cats for fleas regularly and take sick pets to the veterinarian promptly.
The Independent mentions not letting your pet sleep in your bed. The article further states “If you think you have been bitten by a flea and develop flu-like symptoms, see a doctor promptly. Plague is easily treated with antibiotics but can rapidly develop into a serious illness if left untreated.”
You can read both the CDC flyer and the Independent article online. Arm yourself with information and be safe.