A Bayfield-area woman is home after being treated for a week for septicemic plague at Mercy Regional Medical Center.
A family member said she did not want to be identified in the media, but she is recuperating. A prairie dog colony recently died off on their property, he added.
Bubonic plague is the most common form of plague; septicemic plague is seen less often. Symptoms typically include fever, chills, extreme weakness, abdominal pain, shock, and possibly bleeding into the skin and other organs. Septicemic plague can be contracted by handling an infected animal or from bites of infected fleas. This is the second case of plague in La Plata County this year. Since 1957, Colorado has identified 65 cases of human plague, nine (14%) of which were fatal.
One hundred and fifty-seven samples have been tested for plague this year at public health laboratories. Two rodents, one rabbit, one dog and one cat have all tested positive for plague in Colorado. Fourteen flea samples have also tested positive for plague. Since domestic cats and dogs can carry infected fleas into the home, it is important to consult your veterinarian about how to effectively control fleas on your pets.
Tips to protect yourself and your family from getting plague:
. Do not touch or approach wild animals.
. Wear gloves if you must handle sick or dead animals.
. Do not let pets sleep in the bed with you. This has been shown to increase your risk of getting plague.
. Use an insect repellent containing DEET or permethrin (for use on clothing) to prevent flea bites. Be sure to follow the label directions for use.
. Eliminate rodent habitats such as firewood or lumber piles, trash and weeds from around your home or recreational cabin.
.Rodent -proof houses and outbuildings.
To learn more about plague visit www.cdc.gov/plague. San Juan Basin Health will post any further updates on this topic at www.sjbhd.org.