Bubonic plague has once again been detected in the Grand Junction area. This time on the Colorado National Monument. The National Park Service reports two chipmunks found dead in the area of Saddlehorn Campground on Monday tested positive for plague. As a result the park service has closed Saddlehorn Campground and the adjoining Canyon Rim Trail indefinitely. The deadly but treatable disease naturally occurs in a number of different species of rodents, including chipmunks and prairie dogs. The last case of plague in Mesa County was confirmed in November when a cat on the Redlands tested positive. Health officials say it's disturbing to see plague detected so early in the year and it could be a sign that a busy season lies ahead. Plague may be transmitted to humans by bites from infected rodent fleas, handling of infected animal carcasses or by scratches or bites from infected domestic cats.
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