The ten-year-old resident of La Plata County “died from causes related to plague,” the Colorado Division of Public Well being and Atmosphere mentioned in a information launch Thursday.
The loss of life comes amid “laboratory confirmed experiences of plague in animals and fleas in six counties,” together with La Plata, the place testing has confirmed the presence of plague in a pattern of fleas collected there.
“In Colorado, we count on to have fleas take a look at optimistic for plague in the course of the summer time months,” Jennifer Home, Deputy State Epidemiologist and Public Well being Veterinarian for CDPHE, mentioned in a press release.
“Consciousness and precautions can assist forestall the illness in individuals,” Home mentioned. “Whereas it is uncommon for individuals to contract plague, we wish to be certain that everybody is aware of the signs. The illness is treatable if caught early.”
The signs embrace a “sudden on-set of excessive fever and/or swollen lymph nodes,” CDPHE mentioned, including officers wished residents to know the indicators of plague, which is “steadily detected in rock squirrels, woodrats, and different species of floor squirrels and chipmunks.”
Prairie canines are additionally vulnerable, and one signal of plague might be the sudden disappearance of the animal, which is lively above floor.
“In the event you discover decreased rodent exercise in an space the place you usually see lively rodents, contact your native public well being company,” the CDPHE mentioned.
Pets may also be contaminated, and CDPHE suggested residents to make use of flea management merchandise.
CNN’s Raja Razek contributed to this report.