Friday, June 21, 2013
The City of Albuquerque Urban Biology Division has received confirmation of two cases of plague in dogs from the East Mountains area of Bernalillo County.
The cases of canine plague occurred between late May and mid- to late- June. Both dogs have recovered from their illness.
The Albuquerque Environmental Health Department’s Urban Biology Division operates a joint plague monitoring program with the Bernalillo County Office of Health and Social Services.
Program staff will be conducting an environmental investigation at the site where infection is believed to have occurred.
Residents of Bernalillo County east of the Sandia Mountains are reminded that the area in which they live is always at risk for plague and that appropriate preventative measures should be used at all times.
“These recent cases of plague in dogs serves as a reminder to the community, especially those living in the East Mountains, that plague is still present and still a significant health concern” said Dr. Mark DiMenna, Deputy Director of the City of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department. “We encourage everyone to use flea control on pets and follow other preventative measures in order to ensure their safety.”
Plague is a bacterial disease found in rodents in the wild. It can occassionally be transmitted to humans, usually through the bite of an infected flea. Symptoms usually appear between 2-7 days after exposure, and can include fever, chills, painful swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpit or groin, and occassionally headache, vomiting or diarrhea. Early diagnosis and proper treatment with antibiotics usually lead to successful recovery. Undiagnosed or untreated cases are often fatal.
Family pets can become infected with plague, and may carry infected fleas home to their owners. Dogs may not always show symptoms, but cats may develop swollen lymph nodes around the neck, or become lethargic and present with fever or loss of appetite.
Risk of plague infection can be minimized by practicing the following precautions:
•Avoid sick or dead rodents
•Admire wildlife from a distance; do not approach wild rodents or their burrows and do not feed them
•Prevent rodents from living near the house or other buildings; remove trash and weeds and elevate woodpiles
•Prevent pets from roaming or hunting
•Use regular, year-round flea and tick control on pets
•Take sick pets to a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment
Further information on plague and the Urban Biology Division’s plague surveillance program can be obtained by calling 311 or by visiting the Division website here.
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