Residents of the U.S. state of Colorado are asked to be careful after the death of a 10-year-old girl. She died of plague in La Plata. That disease is notorious, but big alarm stays out.
The state has confirmed that her death is related to the plague. That disease is caused by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis. Both humans and animals can get infected. Transfers usually go through fleas to squirrels or dogs, for example.
“We are very sad. Our deepest condolences go to the family,” says Colorado State epidemiologist Jennifer House. “We do research and want to inform everyone that this disease is very rare, but sometimes occurs. Always seek medical help for symptoms.”
The disease, which caused millions of deaths in Europe in the Middle Ages, can now be treated with antibiotics.
Cases are often noticed in rural areas. “We know fleas can test positive for the plague in the summer months,” said House. “Awareness and precautions can prevent disease in humans.”