The Pueblo City-County Health Department has confirmed the death of an adult due to the plague.

Health officials reported that the individual may have contracted the disease from fleas on a dead rodent or other animal. The investigation is being coordinated by the County Health Department and by the experts from Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The bacteria, Yersinia pestis, is transmitted between animals and to human through infected fleas. Individuals infected with plague usually become symptomatic 2–6 days after coming in contact with plague. Symptoms may include fever, chills, weakness, swollen and painful lymph nodes. Plague can be treated with antibiotics if detected in time. Domestic cats and dogs can also carry infected fleas into a home.

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This marks the second confirmed plague death in Colorado. In June, a 16-year-old male died in Larimer County, the county’s first confirmed plague case since 1999. Pubic health director Sylvia Proud urged the importance of protecting against exposure to fleas that carry plague. Some tips to prevent plague include avoiding contact with all sick and dead rodents and rabbits; treating pants, socks, shoe tops, arms, and legs with insect repellents while hiking; keeping pets from roaming and hunting; among others.

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