Fleas In Arizona Confirmed Positive For The Plague

Leslie Hanson
August 14, 2017

The announcement came one week after Coconino County officials first discovered fleas in the area found to be carrying the plague.

Health officials in Navajo County, Arizona, confirmed that fleas found among rodents in the area tested positive for the plague, a disease that wiped out over 50 percent of the European population in the 1300s. Both counties are in northern Arizona. "The disease can be transmitted to humans and other animals by the bite of an infected flea or by direct contact with an infected animal".

To reduce risk of exposure, officials have urged those living, working, camping or visiting the area to take precaution.

Arizona officials advised people to avoid rodent burrows and to keep dogs on leashes to avoid possible exposure to fleas with plague. Research has shown that there have been occasional outbreaks of the plague in southwestern states in the US, like Arizona, especially during cool summers that follow wet winters. The CDC says that most outbreaks of the plague among humans take place in the Southwest region of the U.S.

The plague is rarely seen in modern day America, however it regularly surfaces around the world, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar, according to the Center for Disease Control.

It is caused by a bacterium known as Yersinia pestis, which uses the flea as a host and is usually transmitted to humans via rats.

Symptoms of the plague include fever, chills, headache, muscle pain and weakness.

The last significant plague outbreak in the United States occurred almost a century ago in Los Angeles, when a two-week epidemic killed 30 people.

The plague absolutely sounds terrifying given its past ability to kill off half of Europe, but you shouldn't worry too much if you're not outdoors playing with dead animals on a regular basis.

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