Monday, 28 August 2017

Bubonic plague-carrying fleas found in parts of northern Arizona

AUGUST 15, 2017

by Chuck Bednar
Fleas in some parts of northern Arizona have tested positive for the bubonic plague, a now-rare disease believed to have been responsible for millions of deaths during the Middle Ages, health officials confirmed to ABC NewsNewsweek and other media outlets over the past week.

The infected parasites were first detected in Coconino County and have since also been found in Navajo County, according to published reports. While the insects have indeed tested positive for Yersinia pestis, the bacteria that causes the plague, thus far, no illnesses have been reported.

In a statement, the Navajo County Health Department said that it was “urging the public to take precautions to reduce their risk of exposure to this serious disease, which can be present in fleas, rodents, rabbits and predators that feed upon these animals.” They added that the illness “can be transmitted to humans and other animals by the bite of an infected flea.”

Humans can also catch the disease through bodily fluids (such as respiratory droplets), as well as through direct contact with infected animals (including handling tissues or fluids from a creature that has contracted the disease), Newsweek noted. People living, working or visiting the affected areas are also advised to keep their pets from roaming free, ABC News added.

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