DENVER (KDVR) — A death in Archuleta County has been linked to the plague, according to San Juan Basin Public Health.
SJBPH is investigating the death along with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
“Our hearts go out to the family while we work with CDPHE to conduct a thorough investigation to keep residents safe,” Interim Executive Director of SJBPH Tiffany Switzer said.
The plague, which is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, is treatable with modern medicine, specifically antibiotics. However, it can cause serious illness or death without prompt treatment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The disease can be transmitted to humans by infected fleas or by direct contact with infected animals, according to SJBPH.
Additionally, infections can happen year-round but are most common during the summer months when humans and animals are frequently in close contact.
The symptoms that may occur depend on how the infection happened, according to the CDC. However, those experiencing symptoms like the ones listed on the CDC website are urged to seek immediate medical attention.
People can prevent contracting the plague by controlling the presence of wildlife, mainly fleas, around homes.
Between 1970 and 2020, Colorado saw 66 cases of plague, the second-most out of any state behind New Mexico, which saw 253 cases in that same time period.