Pet cat in Weld County tests positive for plague

WELD COUNTY, Colo. — A domestic cat in rural northwest Weld County that become sick in early June has tested positive for plague, officials said Wednesday.

The cat is getting treatment and is expected to recover. A person who cares for the cat is also getting preventative antibiotics.

People most commonly contract plague from the bite of an infected flea, but might also get the disease from direct contact with an infected animal.

“It’s good practice to use an insect repellent if you will be working, playing or camping in areas where fleas may be present,” said Mark Wallace, executive director of the Weld County Health Department.

Plague is rare, but is present in Colorado wildlife such as rodents and rabbits. Plague is easily treatable with common antibiotics, but if it goes untreated, it could lead to severe disease and even death.

Symptoms include fever, headache, chills, weakness, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. A person might also get swollen, painful lymph nodes near the flea bite.