Navajo County, Arizona has issued a public health warning after fleas in the area tested positive for the plague. The shocking statement warns residents to be on the lookout for symptoms of bubonic plagues, including fever, chills, headache, weakness, swollen lymph glands, and muscle pain.
Fleas in Coconino County have also tested positive for Yersinia pestis, which is known to cause three forms of the plague in humans.
“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,” Navajo County wrote on Facebook. The county also released advice on how to avoid contracting the disease and steps to take if you suspect you are already infected. Symptoms of the plague generally arise within two to six days.
Health experts warn that the disease can spread throughout the bloodstream and into the lungs if left untreated. If caught early enough, it can be cured with antibiotics.
This is a rare warning for the United States, where incidents of the plague are few and far between. Between 2000 and 2015, only 96 cases were reported. Of these, 12 of the patients died from the disease.
If you live in or plan on visiting Navajo County, be sure to pack insect repellent and keep your pets from roaming loose, so they don’t pick infected fleas and bring them into the house.