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Prairie Dogs infected with the plague are calling for further closures of wildlife sanctuaries in Colorado



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Parts of a Colorado wildlife sanctuary remain closed on Sunday after officials first discovered pest-infected prairie dogs there at the end of July. Wildlife and natural areas near Denver have been closed as authorities continue to seek to stem the spread of the disease.

Rocky Mountain Arsenal's National Wildlife Refuge, a 15,000 acre nature reserve northeast of Denver, was partially reopened on Sunday. There are many species in the Refuge, including bison and bald eagle, and where the plague first appeared on the black-tailed prairie dog.

Pest-infected fleas bite the prairie dogs and officials began to close affected areas A precaution to prioritize health and safety of visitors and protect the health of wildlife by personnel, "a statement by the US Fish and Wildlife Service said


Certain areas remain closed due to the risk of walking and taking in pets, dogs are less susceptible to disease than cats, but can carry fleas that can infect other animals and humans, according to Gilbert Cazier and environmental health specialist in the Tri -County Health Department.

"If you bring the dog home and he sleeps In their bed, these fleas can then jump and get on you," said Cazier.

Although the plague can now be treated with antibiotics she had a dark history and, according to CDC, was responsible for the death of 60 percent of the e European population during the Black Death. Rat-infested ships from areas plagued with pest problems led to epidemics in US port cities in 1900, but the last epidemic occurred in Los Angeles in the 1920s.

Today, most epidemic cases are reported in the western United States. In recent decades, an average of seven cases have been reported each year. The bacterium causing the plague, Yersinia pestis, often infects small rodents such as rats, mice, and in the recent incident in Colorado prairie dogs. Fleas can then transmit the disease to humans and other larger mammals. In addition to fleas, humans may become infected with the plague by contact with the body fluids of infected animals or by inhaling the coughed droplets of plague bacteria.

The bubonic plague is responsible for 80 percent of all plague cases in the US, according to CDC. A boy in Idaho had a bubonic plague last year. In 2017, officials from Arizona warned the residents after discovering fleas with plague bacteria. And unfortunately, in 2015, a star high school athlete died of the plague in Colorado.


The plague continues to affect some communities around the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an outbreak of pneumonia in Madagascar in 2017 killed 202 people.

Health officials in Colorado have covered prairie dog holes with an insecticide powder. While the prairie dogs are penetrating their holes and brushing against the powder, Cazier kills the fleas and prevents them from spreading to other animals.

Some parts of the National Wildlife Refuge of Rocky Mountain Arsenal and nearby areas remain closed Until Labor Day Weekend officials announced Friday. The areas include parts of the reserve and other open spaces in Commerce City, a suburb outside Denver. The officials said that Dick & # 39; s Sporting Goods Park, a nearby venue, would continue to host all events, but that parking would only be limited to asphalt parking because grasslands with prairie dog populations were nearby. That's good news for those who go to the Phish show on August 30th.


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