MESA COUNTY, Colo. (KKCO) - The Bubonic plague has been found in Mesa County in the past, and it can be transmitted to humans, causing serious illness and even death.
This mass-killer of the late 1300's now runs on a seven year cycle, and even though it's hardly a death sentence anymore 'the plague' is still a relevant disease.
Between 2005 and 2006 about 140 rodents were tested for the plague in Mesa County. Twenty two of them turned up positive for the disease. Seven years later it's something the community should watch out for as the plague cycles naturally in wildlife. It's caused by flea bites, and once every few years it breaks out among animals, who can in turn, transmit it to humans.
Symptoms of the plague in humans include a sudden onset of fever and chills, severe headaches, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting and exhaustion. Seeing a doctor immediately after experiencing these symptoms should prevent a life-threatening situation.
Mesa County Health Department officials say a dog can carry the plague but can't physically be affected by it. A cat, however, can be physically affected by it and can also spread it to people. Officials say it's important to call your vet if your pet has any sign of fleas in order to protect yourself and your animal.
If you see dead rodents on your property, you're also asked to call officials at the health department so they can test the animals for the plague.