One person has died and it might be the first human plague death in Colorado in the last six years.

First There Was A Squirrel

A couple of months ago we reported the news that a squirrel in El Paso County had tested positive for plague. Now comes the word that someone might have died from contracting the plague.

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Investigates

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says it is investigating the case in La Plata County in southwest Colorado but did not release any other details about the death. The CDPHE is conducting tests to confirm the diagnosis.

While plague is not uncommon in Colorado, human cases are rare. Last year, there were two reported cases of plague in the state, but zero deaths. La Plata County, which includes Durango, has had the highest number of plague cases in Colorado over the last 15 years, totaling nearly half of the state's cases.

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How Plague Is Transmitted

Plague, like the West Nile Virus, is most commonly transmitted through the bite of an infected flea. It can also be transmitted from infected animal tissue. Symptoms of plague include sudden fever, headache, chills, and weakness -  and can be treated with antibiotics.

According to CDPHE, the best way to avoid plague is by not handling wildlife. You should also keep your pets away from wildlife - especially dead rodents and rabbits. They also advise against allowing your pet to hunt rodents, rabbits, or prairie dogs.

Read More: Colorado Squirrel Tests Positive For Plague

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