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  • US Centers For Disease Control file image shows the bubonic plague bacteria.

    US Centers For Disease Control file image shows the bubonic plague bacteria. | Photo: AFP FILE

"The disease can be transmitted to humans and other animals by the bite of an infected flea or by direct contact with an infected animal."

A public health warning has been issued by Arizona officials after fleas in the state tested positive for the plague.

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According to an ABC News report, Navajo and Coconino counties' district officials have confirmed that fleas in the area have tested positive for the disease.

"Navajo County Health Department is urging the public to take precautions to reduce their risk of exposure to this serious disease, which can be present in fleas, rodents, rabbits and predators that feed upon these animals,” a public health warning stated.

"The disease can be transmitted to humans and other animals by the bite of an infected flea or by direct contact with an infected animal."

The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) reported that “between 1900 and 2012, 1,006 confirmed or probably human plague cases occurred in the United States.”

Adding: “In recent decades, an average of seven human plague cases is reported each year. Worldwide, between 1,000 and 2,000 cases each year are reported to the World Health Organization, though the true number is likely much higher.”

The disease – which is highly infectious – ravaged Europe in the Middle Ages, claiming the lives of millions of people was first identified in the beginning of August.

Officials have warned people to avoid areas known to contain fleas and also to keep their pets inside, while the National Park Service posted advisories noting that insecticides “may be used here to kill plague-infected fleas.”

Plague tends to occur in rural and semi-rural areas in the west of the United States, especially New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado.


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