Plague Bacteria Found in Arizona Fleas

Plague Bacteria Found in Arizona Fleas

The announcement came one week after Coconino County officials first discovered fleas in the area found to be carrying the plague.

The plague is perhaps best known for killing millions of people in Europe in the 1300s in a pandemic called the Black Death. Pets can both become infected and carry fleas that could then pass the disease onto humans.

Most cases of the plague in the US occur in Western states like New Mexico, Arizona, southern Colorado, California, southern OR, and far western Nevada, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Fleas have been found to carry the plague in at least two counties in the U.S. state of Arizona, a publication reported.

Three cases have also been confirmed this summer in New Mexico.

The department "is urging the public to take precautions to reduce their risk of exposure to this serious disease", officials said in a Facebook post. "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". Neighboring Navajo County also confirmed the presence of fleas carrying plague near Taylor.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states through studies that outbreaks occasionally occur in southwestern USA states like Arizona during cooler summers following wet winters. Tests were conducted by the Center for Pathogen and Microbiome Institute at Northern Arizona University.

Prairie dogs in Arizona may be spreading the plague like. well, like the plague.


Symptoms of Black Death include tender and painful lymph nodes, chills, fever, headache, weakness, and fatigue.

Finally the Pneumonic plague was the most infectious type, which is passed directly from person to person through airborne droplets coughed from the lungs.

It's after three people needed hospital treatment after contracting the plague 400 miles away east in Santa Fe County, New Mexico, in June. According to the World Health Organization, there are about 300 cases of the plague each year in the world. The bacteria can spread to other parts of the body if untreated.

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