TELLER COUNTY, Colo.– A dog has tested positive for the plague after probable exposure near the Divide Trail Loop at Hayden Divide Park in Teller County.
El Paso County Public Health would like to advise the public on how to avoid exposure to the plague.
Plague is caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis, spreading through bites of infected fleas or animals. Anyone exposed to infected fleas or wild animals in affected areas may be at risk.
The disease has been found in the past in prairie dogs, squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks or other wild rodents.
Veterinarians advise the use of flea collars or medication to prevent fleas in domesticated animals.
The following precautions are also recommended by the public health department:
- Avoid fleas. Protect humans with insect/flea repellent and animals with a veterinary-approved flea treatment.
- Do not directly handle any wildlife.
- Keep pets on a leash—don’t allow them to roam freely.
- Keep pets away from wildlife, especially dead rodents and rabbits.
- Don’t let dogs or cats hunt prairie dogs, other rodents, or rabbits.
- Do not feed wildlife—this attracts them to your property, brings them in close contact, and increases the risk of disease transmission.
- See a physician if you become ill with a high fever and/or swollen lymph nodes. Plague is a treatable illness.
- Contact a veterinarian immediately if your pet or livestock animals become ill with a high fever and/or an abscess or swollen lymph nodes. Mammals with plague can transmit the illness to humans.
Report any sudden die-offs or multiple dead animals to El Paso County Public Health at (719) 578-3220 or to the Teller County Public Health and Environment at (719) 687-6416.