Saturday, May 12, 2007

Squirrels with Plague !!

'Black Death' Found in Denver Squirrels By Patrick O'Driscoll, USA TODAY

(May 11) - A rash of squirrel deaths from plague in the middle of Colorado's largest city has heightened surveillance for the deadly but curable disease.

(the "Black Death" disease that killed millions in 14th-century Europe.)

One human case has been reported in the USA this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A 49-year-old man in San Juan County, N.M., was hospitalized last week and is recovering.

Denver's last outbreak in rodents was nearly 40 years ago. So far, 13 squirrels have been found dead in or near City Park, an urban playground 2 miles from the state Capitol. Two infected squirrels and an infected rabbit were found dead in Denver suburbs.

(Plague bacteria are carried by fleas that infect wild rodents, rabbits and cats)

City workers this week caught 17 squirrels for testing. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases reports 10-20 people a year catch plague in the USA. On average, one in seven dies.

"Among pets, dogs are resistant but cats are highly susceptible. "Right now is a good time to keep cats inside."

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