EVERGREEN - A domestic cat has tested positive for plague in Jefferson County, Jefferson County Public Health says.
The organization says it is not uncommon for cats to get plague in an environment where the illness is circulating.
The cat is currently under the care of a veterinarian.
Plague is a bacterium that is maintained in various species of rodents and rabbits and is transmitted by fleas. When an infected rodent becomes sick and dies, the fleas can carry the infection to other warm-blooded animals, including humans.
People can be exposed through direct contact with infected rodents, rabbits and cats.
Public health officials offer these tips to keep pets and people safe:
- Do not feed squirrels or other rodents. This brings these animals onto property and in close contact with each other, increasing the risk of disease transmission.
- Rodent-proof homes and outbuildings.
- Don't let dogs or cats catch or eat squirrels, rabbits or other animals.
- Don't allow pets to roam freely. Keep them treated for fleas, according to a veterinarian's advice.
- Be aware of rodent and rabbit populations and report sudden die-offs or multiple dead animals.
- Contact a physician if you develop a high fever or other plague symptoms following a flea bite or direct contact with dead rodents or rabbits.
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