Bubonic plague found on fleas in Arizona

A bacterial infection that wiped out about 50 million people during the Middle Ages has turned up in Arizona.

Health officials in two Arizona counties have confirmed that local fleas there are carrying the bubonic plague.

Navajo County health officials issued a warning about fleas testing positive for Yersinia pestis, the plague bacteria, on Friday. A week before, neighboring Coconino County found fleas on prairie dogs carrying the deadly disease.

County health officials will treat the areas where the fleas were found and monitor the area for any further action needed, according to local news site AZ Family.

Most cases of the plague in the U.S. occur in Western states like New Mexico, Arizona, southern Colorado, California, southern Oregon and far western Nevada, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Not Released (NR)

Prairie dogs in Arizona may be spreading the plague like… well, like the plague.

(toos/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Typically, humans get the plague by being bitten by or coming into contact with an infected rodent, or having pets that came in contact with infected fleas.

Symptoms of the plague include fever, chills, headache, muscle pain and weakness. It can be treated with antibiotics, but if left unchecked, can spread and cause serious illness and death.

This isn’t the first plague report this year. In June, two people were confirmed to have the plague in New Mexico.

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