Dog Transmits Deadly Plague to Humans in Colorado

A report of the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention affirmed that in Colorado, a dog infected with plague has spread the disease, affecting four people. The two-year-old American pit bull terrier got sick with plague, and then transmitted it to those who attended to it.

The owner of the dog, two veterinary technicians who treated it and one female who had personal contact with the dog’s owner, all have been diagnosed with the infection.

The dog has died but all the four people are being treated with extra intravenous antibiotics, in order to be certain that they are cured of the infection.

On Thursday, the health officials announced that this case might be the first instance of a dog infecting a human. The cases of person-to-person transmission of plague are extremely rare in the U.S., the last being documented during an outbreak in Los Angeles in 1924.

The Yersinia pestis bacteria, that causes plague is usually passed along in flea bites while the pneumonic form that infects the lungs, is transmitted by little droplets in the cough or through close contact.

Dr. John Douglas, director of Colorado's Tri-County Health Department told that plague is generally confined to rural regions in the West. He remarked, "Frankly one of the biggest surprises of this outbreak is the source”.

In a report circulated by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the researches stated that though human plague is rare in North America, but it is a major public health concern in the western United States where it circulates among wild rodent populations.

The outbreak calls for a prompt action to undertake differential diagnosis for plague of the ill domestic animals. Surely, it is worrisome, for it is the same infamous bacteria that wiped out millions of people in Europe in the middle ages.