WILLIAMS, Ariz. — Recently, prairie dogs found at the Arizona Game and Fish Department Garland Prairie research plot tested positive for plague. Additional testing is pending and a treatment response is being determined.
As a result of these findings, Coconino County Public Health Services District (CCPHSD) Environmental Health is providing prevention information to residents in the area.
Plague is carried by fleas, which spread the disease through host animals. While prairie dogs are host to fleas, the fleas can remain in the burrow after their host dies and attach themselves to the next available host.
Those in areas where plague and/or rodents are known to be present are urged to take the following precautions to reduce their risk of exposure:
Do not handle sick or dead animals.
Prevent pets from roaming loose. Pets can pick up the infected fleas. De- flea pets routinely. Contact your veterinarian for specific recommendations.
Avoid rodent burrows and fleas.
Use insect repellents when visiting or working in areas where plague might be active or rodents might be present (campers, hikers, woodcutters and hunters).
Wear rubber gloves and other protection when cleaning and skinning wild animals.
Do not camp near rodent burrows and avoid sleeping directly on the ground.
In case of illness see your physician immediately.
More information regarding plague is available at https://www.cdc.gov/plague/index.html or by calling CCPHSD Environmental Health at (928) 679-8760.