Colorado domestic cat tests positive for bubonic plague.
A Colorado domestic cat tested positive for bubonic plague late last month, state health officials said.
The kitten in the city of Evergreen likely contracted the infectious disease in an encounter with a sick rodent such as a rat, Jefferson County Public Health announced in a statement.
Jim Rada, director of environmental health services for the agency, said in the statement that “it is normal and expected” for some animals to contract plague in Jefferson each year.
“The good news is that modern antibiotics are effective against plague and as long as it is treated promptly, serious complications, illness or death can be avoided,” Rada said.
The plague, responsible for the death of millions of Europeans in the Middle Ages. It is caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis.
Also, it is often transmitted to humans through flea bites, coughs, or direct contact with infected animals.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cats are often exposed to the disease by eating or coming into contact with rodents, the CDC said.
“The bottom line is that people, and their pets, should avoid contact with any species of wild rodent, especially those that are sick, dying, or already dead,” Rada said.
Colorado has already had several cases of plague this year. A 10-year-old girl died of plague-related causes in La Plata County in July, according to the Associated Press.