Cases of animal and flea plague have been confirmed in six Colorado counties — including the death of a 10-year-old girl earlier this month after she experienced plague-like symptoms, according to a report.
Laboratory tests confirmed the disease in fleas in La Plata province, where the tragic girl lives, according to CBS 4 Denver.
Plague has also been detected in San Miguel, El Paso, Boulder, Horfano and Adams counties, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment told the outlet.
Humans typically contract plague from fleas that carry the plague bacteria or by handling infected animals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“In Colorado we expect to test positive for flea for plague during the summer months. Awareness and precautions can help prevent disease in people. While it is rare for people to get plague, we want to make sure everyone knows the symptoms. The disease can be treated if It’s caught early. Tell your medical provider if you think you have symptoms of the plague or if you think you’ve been exposed, Jennifer House, deputy state epidemiologist and public health veterinarian for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said in a statement.
Symptoms include sudden fever, headache, chills, weakness as well as pain in the lymph nodes, according to Colorado health officials.
There is no vaccine for this disease, but it can be treated with antibiotics if caught early.
CDHE also warned residents to take some precautions in areas where the plague is present, including avoiding direct contact with wildlife and keeping pets away from wildlife, especially dead rodents and rabbits.
Two people contracted the plague last year but survived, according to Denver Post.