Aug 12, 2017, 1:03 PM ET

Fleas are testing positive for the plague in parts of Arizona


Officials in two Arizona counties are warning the public after fleas in the region tested positive for the plague, the infamous infectious disease that killed millions during the Middle Ages.

Navajo County Public Health officials confirmed on Friday that fleas in the area have tested positive for the rare disease. The public health warning follows a similar notice from Coconino County Public Health Services District in Arizona warning of the presence of plague in fleas found there too.

Both counties are situated in the northern part of Arizona.

"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 public health warning states. "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."

Officials also urged persons living, working, camping or visiting in these areas to take precautions to reduce their risk of exposure, including avoiding sick or dead animals, keeping pets from roaming loose, and avoiding rodent burrows and fleas.

While the warning may ring alarm bells for people who only know of the plague from history books, the findings are not without precedent.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that studies suggest that outbreaks of the plague occasionally occur in southwestern U.S. states like Arizona during cooler summers that follow wet winters.

Symptoms of plague include sudden onset of fever, headache, chills, and weakness and one or more swollen, tender and painful lymph nodes, according to the CDC. If untreated, the bacteria can spread to other parts of the body.

News - Fleas are testing positive for the plague in parts of Arizona

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  • Milly Vanilly

    Was Bill Gates anywhere in that area recently ? Maybe 'testing' some of his new Frankenstein recipes for future vaccines.

  • dennis richardson

    The immunization issue is actually an immigration issue which is a globalist world government issue, where America loses its nation status right to its own sovereignty. The issue was settled as far as I am concerned on April 19, 1775 when the British were told to leave America. By deadly force they were told. The same goes for the rest of Europe & the world. Shut your mouth United Nations before you get a big American fist to break your teeth. Donald Trump is the right man for America. Washington, Adams, Jefferson & Jackson would say amen, from eternity. These diseases are the consequences of Obama's failed foreign policies. Deport all ILLEGALS.

  • miro

    Every single year surrounding both L.A. and Flagstaff. Plague and Hanta. Every August and September. Year after year. Slow news day?

  • Dion Schwulst

    And how do the fleas become infected with the plague in the first place?

  • Time for a drink

    I am going out first thing this morning to get my pet flea, Fifi, vaccinated.

  • J. Simone Volgers

    "They" (pharmaceutical/nano-teams) have made the virus what is the anitdote?

  • Common Sense

    In the grand scheme of things, plague should be near the bottom of everyone's list of worries. If you plan on messing around with prairie dogs or squirrels in Northern AZ or other western states, you might be concerned. You are way more likely to die in a car wreck, by a lightning strike, a heart attack, or almost anything else.

  • TexasVulcan

    Which kind of plagues is this?

    Bubonic Plague
    Septicemic Plague
    Pneumonic Plague

  • frettadafrog

    The little buggers spread.
    Take the proper precautions.

  • carcar

    Welp, this is a mighty fine time to cut funding to the CDC.

  • helicohunter

    Just stay away from prairie dogs and other wild rodents. Also, keep your cats indoors so they don't hunt the rodents and bring the fleas home. Plague has been in the U.S. for centuries. Humans rarely catch it, but when they do, they can be cured with prompt antibiotic treatment.

  • James Higginbotham

    looks like one more damn thing to come these days.

  • askew

    Ok, so there's another horseman of the apocalypse ...

  • whitepine

    Don't worry the Republicans can handle it.

  • Ima Knut

    Good ol' Old Testament stuff. Better start loving your neighbors!

  • Dicazi

    Not uncommon at all.
    And nowhere near as deadly as during the Middle Ages because of antibiotics and other treatments.