Fleas in two Arizona counties have tested positive for bubonic plague, the disease which killed millions during the Middle Ages.
Navajo County Public Health officials confirmed on Friday that fleas in the region tested positive for the disease following similar reports from Coconino County Public Health Services District in Arizona last week.
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Health officials have advised residents to “take precautions” to reduce the risk of becoming infected with the serious disease, also known as the black death.
Navajo County Health Department is urging the public to take precautions to reduce their risk of exposure to this serious disease, which can be present in fleas, rodents, rabbits and predators that feed upon these animals,” the county wrote in a post on Facebook.
“The disease can be transmitted to humans and other animals by the bite of an infected flea or by direct contact with an infected animal.”
The county also urged people living, working, camping, or visiting the affected areas to take precautions to reduce their risk of contracting the plague. Such precautions including avoiding sick or dead animals, keeping dogs on a leash, and avoiding rodent burrows and fleas.
It also advised residents to report any sudden die-offs of rodents, rabbits, or prairie dogs to the health department, as they could be an omen of the disease’s presence.
The Navajo County announcement comes after nearby Coconino County made a similar revelation last week.
Authorities in both counties say they plan on treating the burrows where the infected fleas were found, all of which are located on private property.
Residents of the affected areas should look out for early symptoms of the disease, which include tender and painful lymph nodes, chills, fever, headache, weakness, and fatigue.