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Mule deer plague case confirmed in Pleasant Valley; first in county this year

       El Paso County Public Health is cautioning residents in the Pleasant Valley neighborhood to take precautions after confirming plague in a mule deer in the area June 26.
       The deer was tested for plague after being found June 19.
       This is the first time plague activity has been confirmed in the county this year, a County Health press release states.
       “Plague is a bacterial disease transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected flea, or by handling an infected animal,” the release continues. “Taking steps to avoid flea exposure will help prevent spread of the disease. Public Health will monitor plague activity in the neighborhood and respond as appropriate.”
       The release lists the following precautions:
       • Avoid fleas. Protect pets with flea powder, and keep pets on a leash and out of wild rodent habitats.
       • Stay out of areas that wild rodents inhabit. If you enter areas with wild rodents, wear insect repellent and tuck pant cuffs into socks to prevent flea bites.
       • Avoid all contact with wild animals; do not feed or handle them.
       • Do not touch sick or dead animals.
       • Prevent rodent infestations around your house: clear plants and materials away from outside walls, reduce access to food items.
       • Treat known rodent sites around your home with flea powder or a suitable insecticide.
       • Don't attempt to catch, feed, handle or exterminate prairie dogs or any type of squirrel, chipmunk, rabbit or other wild animal.
       In humans, the symptoms of plague infection are high fever, chills, headache, extreme fatigue and tender or swollen lymph glands, according to the press release.
       El Paso County's last reported human case occurred in 1991.
       For more information, visit http://elpasocountyhealth.org.

From a press release
(Posted 6/26/15; Community: Public Safety)

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