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Bubonic Plague Killing Squirrels In Denver

May, 2007
Denver, CO (AHN) - Residents of Denver, Colorado are being warned that a spate of squirrel deaths is being caused by "Black Death" the common name for Bubonic Plague, which killed millions of people in the 14th Century. So far, no humans have been infected. However, the plague is inside one of the city's most popular parks, the site of youth soccer games and a place people go to walk their dogs and picnic.

Plague bacteria are carried by fleas that get on squirrels, rodents, pets and people and spread the disease by biting. This bout has killed 13 squirrels found in or near City Park, and two squirrels and a rabbit found in Denver suburbs.

Usually the plague is confined to the foothills or remote areas of Colorado and it kills a few dozen rodents and pets every year.

Residents are being instructed to take some common sense measures to avoid squirrels and don't feed them, keep pets away from squirrels and treat pets for fleas.

Some 58 people in Colorado have contracted plague since 1957, with nine of them dying. The last human death there was in 2004. One human case of Bubonic Plague has been reported this year, it was in New Mexico and the victim is recovering.

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