Signs have been erected warning Colorado residents about the existence of bubonic plague in prairie dog fleas. The warnings, in Boulder County were erected by the Boulder County Health Department.
Although plague has resided in fleas in the area since 2005 the concern is that the fleas that tested positive this year were actually in the city as opposed to the open country. The 44 acre Marshall open space property has a large prairie dog colony and the area is popular with visitors.
The fleas are in much closer proximity to domestic dogs and cats who can carry them into homes and into much closer contact with large numbers of humans than is usually the case.
Bubonic plague spreads to humans when they are bitten by a flea carrying the disease.
Symptoms of bubonic plague:
- fever and chills
- muscle pain
- general weakness
- possibility of seizures
- lymph glands swelling
That could be a list of Ebola symptoms, or the flu…and this is the problem when so many deadly diseases start with similar symptoms. bubonic plague is treated with antibiotics, but antibiotics are rapidly becoming obsolete in the fight against infection. %0% of untreated patients with bubonic plague will die of the disease.
Between one and 17 cases of bubonic plague have occurred in the USA each year between 1970 and 2012, with a mean average of seven cases per year. early treatment is vital to give the patient the greatest chance of survival. (source)
It remains to be seen if having plague infected fleas in such close proximity to a large number of domestic pets and humans will cause an increase in cases during the remainder of the year.