First case of plague confirmed in New Mexico

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Health officials have confirmed the first case of the plague in New Mexico this year. 

A ranch dog in Quay County was diagnosed. It has since recovered. 

Plague is typically transmitted to pets through bites from infected fleas, and can travel to humans through contact with animals. 

The Department of Health recommends the following steps to avoid plague:

  • Avoid sick or dead rodents and rabbits, and their nests and burrows.
  • Clean up areas near the home where rodents could live, such as woodpiles, brush or junk piles, outbuildings, sheds and abandoned vehicles
  • Since pets who enjoy the outdoors can inadvertently carry infected fleas home, it is recommended that they be on a flea prevention product year-round.
  • Prevent pets from roaming and hunting. 
  • Sick pets should be examined promptly by a veterinarian.
  • See your doctor about any unexplained illness involving a sudden and high fever and be sure to describe to your provider if you’ve had contact with fleas, sick animals or rodents. 
  • Put hay, wood, and compost piles as far as possible from your home. Don’t leave your pet’s food and water where rodents and wildlife can get to it.

Plague symptoms in cats and dogs are fever, lethargy and loss of appetite. There may be a swelling in the lymph node under the jaw or on other parts of the body. Symptoms of plague in humans include sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, and weakness. In most cases there is a painful swelling of the lymph node in the groin, armpit or neck areas. 

Physicians who suspect plague should promptly report to NMDOH by calling (505) 827-0006.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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