The plague kills an adult in Colorado

plague A person has died of the plague in Colorado, the City-County Health Department announced on Wednesday in a press release. No further details have been released concerning the identity, age, or gender of the victim, other than “the individual may have contracted the disease from fleas on a dead rodent or animal.”  “This highlights the importance to protect yourself and your pets from the exposure of fleas that carry plague,” the city-county public health director Sylvia Proud said.

The only animal confirmed to have the plague so far in the immediate vicinity is a dead prairie dog in western Pueblo County. Dog-to-human transmission is not common. As a matter of fact, Colorado's Tri-County Health Department only found one other such case – in China in 2009 – in medical literature. The plague is such an ancient and legendary disease that it doesn’t even have a fancy name; it’s just the plague. Like the Boogeyman or Brock Lesnar, its name alone is enough to strike the fear of God into the hearts of men. However, when someone cries plague, it’s not like the boy who cried wolf; this is still a very real and very extant threat – though not as deadly as in medieval times; it can be treated with a course of antibiotics and antimicrobials.

It has only been just over ten years ago that the last case of the plague was recorded in Pueblo County. Moreover, a teenager died of the plague in Larimer County, Colorado earlier this year. That’s only one case compared to eight in that state in 2014; on the other hand, those eight were quite the surge from only one case in the prior seven years. In the rest of the United States, a pit bull was at the epicenter of an outbreak that infected four people last year, according to a CDC report. This same document suggested the possibility of human-to-human transmission, which hasn’t occurred in the U.S. since the Coolidge administration. The health agency says that approximately 7 people contract the plague in the United States each year, and 80% of them develop the bubonic form – which includes symptoms such as cheicken egg-sized swollen lymph nodes in the groin, armpit, or neck; fever and chills; headache; fatigue; malaise; and muscle aches.