Plague in Colorado: Second death in 2 months from flea-borne disease

© Karoly Arvai
A person has died of the plague in Colorado, less than two months after a 16-year-old was also killed by the disease. The individual is believed to have contracted the plague from fleas on a dead rodent or other animal.

The Pueblo City-County Health Department confirmed on Wednesday that the victim was an adult, but failed to provide further details.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the family,” said Sylvia Proud, public health director of the Pueblo City-County Health Department, as quoted by local news outlet KRDO.

According to the department, the plague can spread through rodent populations in localized areas, which often ends in mass die-offs. This results in hungry infected fleas seeking other sources of blood, which increases the risk to humans and other animals.

The health department is currently investigating the situation, along with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

It comes less than two months after a 16-year-old passed away in Larimer County, Colorado after suffering from septicemic plague.

Medical professionals find it difficult to detect and diagnose the septicemic strain of the plague, as the victim's glands do not swell.

The most common form of the plague is bubonic, during which patients usually show symptoms two to six days after coming into contact with the disease. Symptoms include fever, chills, weakness, and swollen glands.

The least common type is pneumatic, which involves pneumonia and is capable of spreading among people through coughing.

When caught in time, all types of the plague can be treated with antibiotics. However, the disease can be deadly if treatment is not administered right away.

Colorado residents have been advised to report any unusual die-offs of rabbits or prairie dogs to the health department, and to stay away from die-off areas.