A second person has fallen victim to the Colorado plague. Plague cases are very rare in the US and they usually occur in the West. Nationally an average of seven plague cases are reported per years. Last year Colorado alone had eight cases of plague. It seems that this year the Colorado plague was spread by small animals such as rodents or cases of rabbit fever.
The wet spring brought about abundant vegetation which led to a boom of the animal population. Rodents are the main cause of the disease. This summer health officials have confirmed that the bacteria Y. pestis was present in colonies of prairie dogs in a ark from Denver area. This bacterium can also be found mice, rats and squirrels.
Usually humans keep themselves away from these animals and they are safe, but just like it was the case now weather changes caused the animals that carry the bacterium to boom. With more rodents the number of fleas extended and the plague spread. It was only a matter of time until it reached humans.
Officials say the weather is to blame for this because of the spring that was wetter than usual. Program manager Vicky Carlton who works at the health department where the second victim fell ill said:
We’ve had a very wet winter, very wet spring and it’s really a cool summer for Pueblo and we are exploding with rodents and rabbits. In the area where I live, I see rodents everywhere. And that just means we have twice as many fleas, as well. So, the risk is there for pets and people. This is an unusual summer for us.”
Bubonic is the most common type of plague. In this instance the infections spreads into the lymphatic system through the tissues of the body. Another type of plague is septicemic plague when the bacteria enters right into the blood stream. The symptoms are similar to the ones noticed in flu, including abdominal pain, fever and chills. The least common form of the disease is pneumatic plague. Pneumonia spreads among people through coughing. All types of plague can be treated and cured with antibiotics but only if they are administered soon after the infection. If the treatment is delayed the infection can be deadly.
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