Public health officials from Navajo County confirmed on Friday that fleas in northern parts of Arizona have tested positive for Bubonic plague.
Navajo County Health Department released a public statement:
“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 disease can be transmitted to humans and other animals by the bite of an infected flea or by direct contact with an infected animal.”
They further advised anyone living, working or visiting Arizona to take precautions to avoid contamination by not letting pets roam unsupervised, avoid rodent burrows and to stay away from animals sickened or killed by the plague.
While the confirmed outbreak sounds shocking, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that it is actually fairly common in southwestern US states during cooler summers and wet winters.
The Bubonic plague—also knows as the “Black Death”—is an extremely contagious disease that killed a third of the European population (approximately 100 million) in the 14th century, Middle Ages.