Who Said Plague Squirrels?
Just when you thought 2020 couldn't top "murder hornets," it decided to whip out the "plague squirrels." Even better, they're popping up right here in the U-S-of-A.
KDVR reports that the plague squirrels, meaning they're carrying the bubonic plague, were discovered in Morrison, Colorado.
Basically, animal control nabbed a squirrel, stuck it with a few needles and learned it was carrying the Yersinia pestis bacteria -- or, more simply -- the Black Death.
Now, animal control is urging residents to keep their pets away from the wildlife, as their precious fur babies can die if they contract the virus and don't eek medical intervention from antibiotics.
The bacteria can spread from animals to humans through direct contact, like bites, but can also be spread by fleas that drank the blood of the infected creature.
Also, should a pet become infected, the possibility of it spreading the bacteria onto its owner is increased. Symptoms take between two to seven days to manifest, which include fever, chills, nausea, swelling of the lymph nodes and other unpleasant side effects.
So, if you don't want a plague squirrel wrecking your day, Jefferson County Public Health says you need to follow these simple rules:
Eliminate all sources of food, shelter and access for wild animals around the home.
Do not feed wild animals.
Avoid contact with sick or dead wild animals.
Use precaution when handling sick pets and have them examined by a veterinarian.
Use flea and tick control items for your pets.
Keep pets from roaming freely outside the home.
Following these guidelines dramatically decrease risk of infection.
Between 1347 and 1351, the bubonic plague killed roughly 25 million people, or a third of Europe's entire population.