Four Cases of Life-Threatening Plague Found in Colorado

Friday, July 18, 2014
By Paul Martin

By Sonali Basak and Jennifer Oldham
Businessweek.com
July 18, 2014

Three more plague cases were found in Colorado, a week after the first infection of the deadliest form of the disease was reported in the state in a decade.

The man initially reported with pneumonic plague on July 11 is hospitalized. Two of the new cases also had pneumonic plague, while the third had a milder form. All four cases may be linked to the original man’s dog, which died from the illness, state health officials said.

The people newly-found to be infected were treated with antibiotics, recovered, and are no longer contagious. Health officials suspect the dog that died may been exposed to plague-infected fleas from a prairie dog or rabbit, said Jennifer House, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment department.

“We’ve had quite a number of cases this year,” House said in a telephone interview. “We do believe the outbreak itself to be over.”

Colorado has had 60 cases of all types of plague since 1957, and nine people have died. Twelve cases of plague have occurred in the past decade in the state. The state’s investigation is ongoing, House said.

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