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Rabbit in east Colorado Springs tests positive for plague
A wild rabbit caught in northeast Colorado Springs tested positive for plague, said El Paso County Public Health officials on Friday.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials found the rabbit Friday east of Powers Boulevard near the St. Francis Medical Center and Hospital. Health investigators identified people who had been exposed to the rabbit. They are being treated with preventative antibiotics.
The plague is a bacterial disease transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected flea. Symptoms include high fever, chills, headache, extreme fatigue and tender or swollen lymph glands. Called “The Black Death,” in the Middle Ages it killed whole populations in Europe.
Public health officials will post “plague health alert” notices around town that list ways to identify and prevent the plague.
Residents are urged to keep pets on leashes while walking outdoors, and prevent dogs from chasing and trying to catch wild animals. Humans should avoid catching, feeding or handling wild animals, especially squirrels, chipmunks and rabbits.
Cats are more susceptible to the plague than dogs, so homeowners who live in northeast Colorado Springs should keep their cats indoors.
If you’ve had contact with a wild animal, call Public Health at (719) 339-3230. For general information visit the agency website (www.elpasocountyhealth.org) or call (719) 578-3199 during business hours.
Plague is common in El Paso County and precautions to prevent plague should always be taken. Additional information on plague can be found at www.elpasocountyhealth.org.