DURANGO, Colo. (KDVR) — A 10-year-old has died of plague in La Plata County. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and San Juan Basin Public Health officials announced on Saturday that they are investigating the case and will release more information as it becomes available.
Humans can get the plague by handling an infected animal or being bitten by a rodent flea that carries the bacteria, according to the CDC.
Seek medical care if you suspect you have been exposed to the plague or display symptoms. The CDC says symptoms include sudden onset of fever, headache, chills, and weakness and one or more swollen, tender and painful lymph nodes.
Public health officials recommend these precautions to avoid the plague:
- AVOID FLEAS! Protect pets with flea treatment recommended by your veterinarian and keep pets on a leash and out of wildlife habitats.
- STAY OUT of areas that wild rodents and rabbits inhabit. If you enter areas with rodents or rabbits, wear insect repellent containing DEET and tuck pants cuffs into socks to prevent flea bites.
- AVOID all contact with wildlife, including rabbits and squirrels; Do not feed or handle them.
- DO NOT TOUCH sick or dead animals.
- PREVENT rodent infestations around your house: Clear plants and materials away from outside walls, reduce access to food items and set traps.
- TREAT burrows on your property if you find dead rabbits or rodents with an insecticide approved by the EPA for use on fleas and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the label.