Cat in rural northwest Weld County tests positive for plague
June 14, 2017
A cat in rural northwest Weld County recently tested positive for plague. It got sick in early June and is receiving treatment. The cat is expected to recover, according to a news release.
The cat's caretaker also is receiving preventive antibiotics.
"The presence of plague reminds residents to keep fleas off pets and use appropriate flea control products," said Mark Wallace, the executive director of the Weld County Health Department, in the release. "It's good practice to use an insect repellent if you will be working, playing or camping in areas where fleas may be present."
People usually contract plague when an infected flea bites them, according to the release, but people can get the disease following contact with an infected animal. Plague is rare, but wildlife such as rodents and rabbits can carry the disease.
Symptoms of plague include sudden onset of fever, headache, chills, weakness, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, according to the release. A person may get swollen, painful lymph nodes near the flea bite.
Plague is treatable with antibiotics. If plague goes untreated, severe disease and even death may occur, according to the release.
To prevent plague and other animal-borne diseases:
» Avoid flea bites — stay away from rodents and wear repellent when in areas with rodents.
» Keep fleas off pets by applying flea control products.
» Don't allow cats or dogs that roam and hunt to sleep in your bed.
» Reduce rodent habitat around the home. Remove brush, trim vegetation and keep the area clear of clutter.
» Do not feed or handle wildlife.
» Use gloves or a shovel to dispose of a carcass.
For questions related to plague or other diseases carried by animals, contact the Environmental Health Division at the Weld County Health Department at (970) 304-6415.