All New Mexico residents can take part in controlling the spread of plague with simple habitat modifications in order to control the rodent population.
Removing brush, rock piles, cluttered firewood, and food supplies, such as pet and wild animal food, can also be helpful in controlling the disease spread. Removal of these items will make your property less appealing to rodents and lessen the likelihood of infestation and disease spread. More prevention tactics include:
- Rodent-proofing your home
- Wearing gloves when handling and/or skinning potentially infected animals to prevent any contact between your skin and the plague bacteria
- Use flea and bug repellent during activities like camping, hiking, or working outdoors
- Use flea control techniques to avoid fleas infecting your pets
- Do not allow dogs or cats that spend time in endemic areas to sleep on your bed or furniture
Most human plague cases in the United States occur in two regions. New Mexico, northern Arizona, and southern Colorado, as well as California, southern Oregon, and far western Nevada.
How is the Plague Transmitted?
The plague bacteria can be transmitted to humans in multiple ways. Infected flea bites tend to occur when hungry fleas seek other sources of blood and feed on a dead rodent, this infects the flea with the plague bacteria can in turn be transmitted to other animals and humans. When a person comes in contact with contaminated fluid or tissue of a plague-infected animals, it can also transmit the plague bacteria and infect said person.
The plague is a serious and dangerous illness. Immediate treatment with the correct medications is crucial in order to prevent epidemic, complications, and/or death.
Note: The plague vaccine is no longer available in the United States. New plague vaccines are in development but are not expected to be commercially available in the immediate future.
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