American Gets Deadliest Form of Rare Plague
Colorado case likely started with dead dog, officials say
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2014 2:57 PM CDT
   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – The rarest and deadliest form of plague has infected a man in Colorado, but so far officials only say that he's being treated—and may have contracted the disease from his dog, Bloomberg reports. "He’s on treatment long enough to not be transmissible," says a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The pneumonic plague he contracted is airborne and can spread through sneezing and coughing, but the spokeswoman said that "we don't think it's out in our air. We think it's in our dead animal populations and dead rodent populations."

The man may have gotten sick from his dog because it died suddenly and was also infected by the disease, she added. (A statement from her office notes that fleas often spread the disease by leaving the carcass of an infected animal to infest other animals and bite people.) But don't worry much: Only about seven Americans get any form of plague each year, and Colorado has only seen 60 cases since 1957. While symptoms aren't fun (muscle pain, high fever, and nausea are among them), it can be treated if the infected party gets antibiotics in the first 24 hours. "Pneumonic plague is not very common at all," a doctor tells NBC 9 Colorado. "The problem is without treatment pneunomic plague is about 90% fatal." (Last year, a couple got bubonic plague after being bitten by fleas in New Mexico.)

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Showing 3 of 27 comments
Asok Asus
Jul 15, 2014 12:57 PM CDT
It's been an unusually cool and wet summer in Colorado which has probably caused the flea population in the p. dog colonies to explode. No doubt caused by global warming which predicted super amounts of rain in semi-arid Colorado. No, wait. Global warming was predicted to cause us unceasing drought in Colorado. No, wait, it's not global warming anymore, it's "climate change" because warming failed to happen as predicted. "Climate change" is a better meme anyway since it's MUCH more amenable to retrospective predictiveness. Very malleable "climate change" is. It even has caused plague in Colorado, since of course, we've never had plague here before. Ever. Until "climate change" that is..
tokira
Jul 13, 2014 8:20 PM CDT
One wonders if his dog was one of the many thousands now being imported without any testing, immunizations, or Veterinary exams, by so-called "Rescues", who are selling them all over the US, for big dollars because of their tearjerking stories.
TheBlues
Jul 13, 2014 5:20 PM CDT
Dead and gone, as we all will soon be.