It seems that 2020 has our number. On July 10th, An open space outside of Denver Colorado tested positive for the presence of plague. The Great Western Reservoir is closed to the public to avoid exposure to fleas potentially infected with plague.
“Please avoid touching any sick or dead animals and follow recommended safety measures to protect your pets and family members,” Jason Vahling said, the Broomfield Public Health Director.
Broomfield Public Health and Environment reported plague activity at the Great Western Reservoir Open Space. This open space property is located generally east of Indiana Street and south of State Highway 128. In partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), Broomfield Open Space and Trails, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), testing at the site occurred and confirmed plague. Great Western Open Space is not open to the public. Signs will be posted in the area as a precautionary measure to avoid exposure to fleas potentially infected with plague.
CDPHE shared that they have seen an increase in plague activity throughout Colorado. Plague occurs naturally in this state and is an infectious bacterial disease spread by fleas when they bite wild rodents and other small mammals such as squirrels, rats, prairie dogs, and rabbits. Plague can also spread to humans when an infected flea bites a human. As this is the first plague activity found this season in Broomfield County, public health officials want to remind residents to protect themselves and their pets against plague.
Public health officials recommend the following precautions to reduce the likelihood of being exposed to plague:
- Avoid contact with any sick or dead wild animals.
- Avoid fleas. Protect your pets by using a veterinary-approved preventive flea treatment.
- Use insect repellent that contains DEET to prevent flea bites.
- Tuck pant cuffs into socks to prevent flea bites.
- Keep your dogs on a leash when outside.
- Prevent rodent infestations around your house by clearing away debris and trash.
- Seek medical attention if you or your pet become ill with symptoms such as a high fever, extreme fatigue and/or swollen lymph nodes. Symptoms typically appear one to six days after being infected with the plague bacteria and can be treated with antibiotics when recognized early.
To ensure the wellbeing of your families and household pets, please report any unusual wild animal activity to Broomfield Animal Services at 303.438.6400. If you have questions about Broomfield’s Prairie Dog Policies for Conservation and Management, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.