Plague Bacteria Detected in Arizona Fleas

The causative bacterium of plague, Yersinia pestis, has been detected in fleas in Picture Canyon, Arizona. Deaths of prairie dogs in this region alerted officials to the possibility of the disease.

Prairie dogs are especially vulnerable to this bacterium as they live in social burrows which may be infested with rodents that carry the fleas bearing the disease causing bacteria. Once the host rodent dies, the fleas seek out new hosts to feed off as they are sanguinivorous. It has been noted that even a single infected member of a prairie dog colony may lead to the death of as many as 90% of the members of the colony.

Human cases have been known to develop from close contact with cats that have preyed on infected rodents, and adequate advisory is being issued, especially to campers and hikers in the region, about the risks of plague. In addition, the prairie dog burrows at the affected place, Picture Canyon, are being sprayed with insecticide to kill the fleas that may host the plague bacillus.

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Bubonic Plague Claims 3 Lives in Zambia

The Times of Zambia reports that three persons have died from suspected bubonic plague in the Nyimba District of the Eastern Province. Reportedly 13 people from the Kavyeni village have been affected by the disease in what seems like an ongoing outbreak.

The neighboring countries of Mozambique and Malawi are also suffering from an outbreak of cholera and typhoid, which have broken out in the Mchinji and Kasungu areas of Malawi and since these areas are in close proximity to Chipata, the health authorities have warned the public to be on high alert for the possibility of these diseases occurring within the nation.

While more information is not available according to this report, it needs to be followed up to confirm the outbreak of bubonic plague and institute control measures as needed.