New plague-squirrel findings in previous Westside problem area
County Health continues control efforts

       With three findings this month of plague-afflicted squirrels in the area of 38th and Columbia streets, the El Paso County Health and Environmental Department is refocusing its control efforts there. Black squirrels such as this one are unusual on the
Westside, but just as likely to carry plague fleas as any 
other types that live in trees.
Westside Pioneer photo
       A total of six squirrels - the original three were in mid-October - have tested positive to the plague in that Westside/Manitou Springs area, according to Don Mydlowski, the Health Department's program manager for animal diseases that can be transmitted to humans.
       However, no humans or pets have been affected by the infestation, which has lingered through the fall.
       After the initial outbreak in October appeared to have been contained, he had been collecting specimens in a broadening perimeter south and west of the Garden of the Gods, including the populated area of Pleasant Valley, with all tests coming back negative.
       As a result of the new discoveries, Mydlowski said the perimeter is being pulled back to the original outbreak area - a roughly one-mile radius from 38th and Columbia. “Apparently we were moving out too soon,” he said.
       The chief control measure being used by the Health Department is baiting healthy squirrels into carpeted tubes containing an insecticide that kills the plague fleas.

Westside Pioneer article