Pueblo County confirms human plague case and advises precautions
Pueblo County confirms human plague case and advises precautions

(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

(PUEBLO, Colorado) – The Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment (PDPHE) and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) have confirmed a human case of plague in Pueblo County.

On Wednesday, July 3, it was announced that PDPHE and CDPHE were launching an investigation after initial test results came back positive. PDPHE continues to investigate a possible source of the disease and advises the public to take the following precautions:

  • Eliminate places around your home, garage, shed or recreation area where rodents can hide and breed. Remove brush, rock piles, trash and wood piles.
  • Avoid contact with dead animals. If you must handle sick or dead animals, follow these guidelines. First, apply insect repellent to protect against fleas. Then, use a long-handled shovel to put the animal in a garbage bag. Finally, throw the bag in an outdoor trash can.
  • Use insect repellent with 20-30% DEET to prevent flea bites. Treat pants, socks, shoe tips, arms and legs.
  • Do not let pets sleep in bed with you.
  • Treat dogs and cats regularly for fleas. Flea collars have not been shown to be effective.
  • Do not allow your pets to hunt or roam in areas with rodents, such as prairie dog colonies.
  • Store pet food in rodent-proof containers.

According to PDPHE, symptoms of plague include sudden fever and chills, severe headache, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and malaise, and another common symptom is swollen lymph nodes with pain.

If you experience symptoms of plague, PDPHE advises you to seek medical attention immediately. Plague can be treated with antibiotics, but according to PDPHE, an infected person must be treated immediately to avoid serious complications or death.

By Everly