[Sca-cooks] OP Ash Fork Plague was Re: wild rabbit

Terry Decker t.d.decker at att.net
Sun Sep 9 10:58:49 PDT 2012

Plague was originally found in prairie dogs in a pairie dog town near 
Lubbock, TX in 1946 (IIRC).  The prairie dog fleas aren't particularly fond 
of humans, but when their is a big die off in a prairie dog town one of the 
things that gets checked for is plague.  If it is found, the CDC starts 
monitoring the area because of the possibility of transference to mice and 
rats and then into humans.

I have nothing on an incident in 1977, but in 1976 plague was found in a 
prairie dog town a couple miles south of the town and was handled by the AZ 
Dept. of Health Services.  According to the ADHS statistics, there are no 
reported cases of plague in the 1970's that match the stated incident of 2 
HS students catching the plague; 
http://www.azdhs.gov/phs/oids/vector/plague/stats.htm .  From the plague 
information page at ADHS:

"How does a person get plague?

A person can get plague after being bitten by infected fleas. People can get 
fleas from:
.Petting dogs or cats that may carry rodent fleas;
. Handling wild rodents or rabbits;
. Venturing too close to rodent burrows or nests, especially prairie dog and 
ground squirrel burrows.

A person can get plague by coming in direct contact with blood or tissues of 
infected rodents, rabbits or carnivores, such as during the skinning of 
game. The bacteria can enter through an open cut or scrape in the skin, or 
through the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and mouth.

Most human plague infections initially involve the lymph nodes (this is the 
bubonic form). Patients with this kind of plague do not represent a risk of 
transmission to other people. In some people, the plague bacteria can move 
into the lungs (pneumonic plague). A cough or sneeze from a person with this 
type of plague illness can spread the disease directly to other people.

How can plague be avoided?

The following precautions can decrease your chances of being exposed to 
.Do not allow pets to roam freely. Fit them with a flea collar or dust them 
with flea powder on a regular basis making sure to follow all label 
. Avoid contact with sick or dead animals and stay away from rodent burrows.
. Wear insect repellents to keep fleas away when hiking or working in areas 
where plague might be active.
. Wear rubber gloves when skinning and cleaning game animals. "

There are some news reports online, but they only report that plague was 
found and that the only reported case in Yavapai county (at that time) was 
in 1975.


> Sorry I wasn't clear, I was being Arizona specific. I was wanting to know
> about the Ash Fork incident in 1977 that was spoken of.  I know about the
> girl in Colorado.
> D

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