Fleas carrying the bubonic plague have been found in Arizona

Business Insider | 8/14/2017 | Kevin Loria
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Health officials in two Arizona counties reported that fleas tested positive for Yersinia pestis, the bacteria that causes the plague.

Plague regularly appears in the American Southwest, where it often kills rodents like prairie dogs but occasionally infects people.

Cases - Plague - New - Mexico - Summer

There were two human cases of the plague in New Mexico earlier this summer.

The black death is alive and well in the American Southwest.

Weeks - Health - Officials - Arizona - Counties

Over the past several weeks, public health officials in two Arizona counties — Navajo County and Coconino County — have confirmed that fleas have tested positive for the Yersinia pestis bacteria, which causes the three forms of the plague.

"Navajo County Health Department is urging the public to take precautions to reduce their risk of exposure to this serious disease, which can be present in fleas, rodents, rabbits, and predators that feed upon these animals," the health department announced on Friday on the county's Facebook page. "The disease can be transmitted to humans and other animals by the bite of an infected flea or by direct contact with an infected animal."

County - Officials - Pets - Fleas - Pets

County officials advise against allowing pets to run free, as they could pick up infected fleas. Pets can both become infected and carry fleas that could then pass the disease onto humans.

For anyone concerned they could have been exposed, the health department added: "Symptoms of plague in humans generally appear within two to six days following exposure and include the following: fever, chills, headache, weakness, muscle pain, and swollen lymph glands (called 'buboes') in the groin, armpits or limbs. The disease can become septicemic (spreading throughout the bloodstream) and/or pneumonic (affecting the lungs), but...
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