JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – A squirrel in Jefferson County tested positive for bubonic plague. Jefferson County Public Health says the squirrel was found in Morrison.

Yersinia pestis, a bacteria, causes the infectious disease. Humans can be infected by the plague through bites from infected fleas or by indirect exposure, such as cough, or direct exposure, like a bite, from an infected animal.

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(file photo credit: THOMAS WARNACK/dpa/AFP via Getty Images)

An infected person or animal can suffer from high fever, chills, headache, nausea and swelling of lymph nodes. The symptoms show up within two to seven days after exposure.

Antibiotics can treat the disease.

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Jefferson County Public Health recommends the following precautions be taken to protect yourself and your pets from plague.

  • Eliminate all sources of food, shelter and access for wild animals around the home.
  • Do not feed wild animals.
  • Maintain a litter and trash-free yard to reduce wild animal habitats.
  • People and pets should avoid contact with sick or dead wild animals and rodents.
  • Use precaution when handling sick pets. Have sick pets examined by a veterinarian.
  • Consult with your veterinarian about flea and tick control for your pets.
  • Keep pets from roaming freely outside the home where they may prey on wild animals and bring the disease home with them.

This is the first case of bubonic plague in the county.

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