Aug 22, 2014 1:00 PM by Zach Thaxton
A wild rabbit in eastern El Paso County died as a result of contracting bubonic plague, the El Paso County Health Department announced Friday. It is the first confirmed presence of plague in El Paso County this season, the department said. The rabbit was found dead near a prairie dog burrow on private property near Yoder. Testing was completed on the animal Thursday and confirmed the rabbit had plague.
The health department says a Public Health specialist went door-to-door to notify area residents of the presence of plague. The department warns the public not to try to catch, feed, handle, or kill prairie dogs, squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, or any other type of wild animal. Plague can be transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected flea. The Health Department offers the following tips for avoiding plauge:
- AVOID FLEAS! Protect pets with flea powder, and keep pets on a leash and out of wild rodent
- STAY OUT of areas that wild rodents inhabit. If you enter areas with wild rodents, wear insect
repellent and tuck pant cuffs into socks to prevent flea bites.
- AVOID all contact with wild rodents, including squirrels; do not feed or handle them.
- DO NOT TOUCH sick or dead animals.
- PREVENT rodent infestations around your house: clear plants and materials away from outside
walls, reduce access to food items.
- TREAT known rodent sites around your home with flea powder or a suitable insecticide
The last human case of plague happened in 1991.