Plague is an infectious disease infamous for killing millions of Europeans in the Middle Ages.
Infected fleas have been found on prairie dogs in two Arizona counties – Navajo County one week after Coconino County.
A popular hiking area near Flagstaff, Arizona, has become ground zero of a deadly plague outbreak among prairie dogs. Fleas test positive for deadly Yersinia Pestis bacteria, the bacteria that causes bubonic plague, following death of prairie dog.
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Coconino County officials discovered fleas carrying the plague in the Red Lake area and in the Doney Park area last week.
On August 12, 2017, Yersinia pestis, the bacteria that causes the Bubonic plague, was also collected from dead prairie dogs near the town of Taylor in Navajo County.
Residents have been notified and the situation is being monitored in both counties. The bubonic plague can be spread to humans through flea bites or through direct contact with an infected animal.
It’s not the first time that Arizona is host of plague outbreaks among prairie dogs. In 2015 that another outbreak of the plague took place among prairie dogs in Flagstaff during which 15 humans had been infected with the Bubonic plague.
Officials believe the plague is spreading as they have observed the sudden death of a large number of prairie dogs and rodents at the same time.