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Officials: 10-year-old dies of plague in La Plata County

July 10, 2021 GMT

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) — A 10-year-old Colorado resident died of plague in La Plata County, San Juan Basin Public Health said Friday.

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and health officials said they are investigating the case and will provide more information as it becomes available, 9News reported. No other information on the child was immediately released.

“We are so sad for the loss of this young Coloradan and our deepest condolences go to the family,” said Dr. Jennifer House of the health department. “Public Health is doing an epidemiological investigation and wants Coloradans to know that while this disease is very rare, it does occur sometimes, and to seek medical care if you have symptoms.”

Officials say plague is caused by bacteria that can be transmitted to humans by the bites of infected fleas or by direct contact with infected animals. The risk of contracting certain animal-borne diseases, while present year-round, increases during the summer when humans and animals are frequently in close contact.

Most human plague cases are acquired directly from fleas. Officials say it’s important to wear repellant when outdoors and keep up to date on pet vaccinations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says symptoms of the plague include fever, headache, chills, and weakness and one or more swollen, tender and painful lymph nodes.