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Deadliest, Rarest Form of Plague Contracted Near Denver

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Bubonic and Pneumonic plague are endemic to Colorado..... :scratchhead: ....or at least parts of it. When we moved to CO and caught casual rumors of this, we thought :runcirclsmiley2:

I mean....we're talkin' THE PLAGUE....that took out most of Europe!!!! :wacko:



Well, it's really not quite so scary as all that cuz we're living [so far] in modern times. Antibiotics makes a huge difference. So does all the other modern things like IV for keeping fluid levels stable, meds to keep fevers in check [as opposed to icy baths, etc] ....all the palliative care now available. Of course, you shouldn't dally around in getting to the doctor. It WILL still kill if it gets a good foothold.


The difference between the two is the pneumonic [same root as pneumonia] involves the lungs, of course. Bubonic is in the lymph system....makes huge swellings. Honestly, I think this is the first case of pneumonic I've heard of since we've been here. Third type is in the blood.






natural to or characteristic of a specific people or place; native; indigenous: endemic folkways; countries where high unemployment is endemic.
belonging exclusively or confined to a particular place: a fever endemic to the tropics. [from Dictionary.com]
Just as most flu viruses are endemic to Asia and things like Ebola and other nasties originate in parts of the African continent, my state has The Plague......and Hantavirus, which is mostly in the 4-Corners region [sW....where NM, AZ, UT & CO meet] but not restricted to there. We had a death from that some years back near me. AND over in Pueblo [i think] they recently had a woman with a BAT [see my recent BAT story in RURR] on her ankle...yes, biting her! She whacked it and took it's little carcass in for study -- RABIES! [common in bats, skunks, raccoons....or rather, they live longer with the disease and that's the problem] Now you know why I was shooting BBs at a bat in my house in the middle of the night! :frying pan: ....rabies.
Soooo, it's good to know what IS endemic to your region. It's a good habit not to mess with sick or dead animals. Or wild animals acting 'friendly'!!!! Be careful with mouse droppings or sweeping in areas of dried rodent urine, as we're all cautioned here in '4-corner' states. At least the injections after being bitten/scratched by a rabid animal is minor now, compared to when my family endured MANY shots in the stomach :0327: when I was a child.
BUT....in a Post-Hooey situation? These things become very deadly again..... :animal0017:
MtRider ...but hey, we don't have poisonous SNAKES in my immediate area tho! :)
Edited by Mt_Rider
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At it's height, the black death seems to have become particularly virulent. People would be fine in the morning and dead by evening. At first it was spread by fleas on rats and caused very painful, enlarged lymph nodes. I read that the plague came after most of the cats had been killed by people suspecting them of witchcraft. I don't know if this is true. I also read that the plague was spread rapidly due to people crowding into cities following the loss of their farms when the bankers were destroying the economy of Europe. Certainly being in crowded conditions will increase the spread of any disease. Once the disease begin to spread thru the air, it moved rapidly thru populations.


How many people could be exposed to a deadly disease spreading thru the air if a person who was ill with it, coughing and sneezing and touching things, went thru a busy place like Denver International Airport, Chicago O'hare, or JFK airport? It would be possible for ONE individual to go thru all three in a day, perhaps contaminating hundreds if not thousands. If that person then died without anyone knowing what was wrong, or perhaps worse, took a course of antibiotics without being tested, thus leaving no trace, It would be entirely within the realm of possibility to go into a full scale major epidemic within days. (I'm going to find myself a couch to hide behind. Mt Rider might be contagious! LOL)


Not really trying to scare anybody needlessly, but I've read posts where people have said they would go into seclusion when they heard of a major epidemic. You may not have that much warning. People may suddenly start dropping all over with no clear idea of the source of the contagion. In Defoe's book about the Plague, he said that most of the survivors had laid in a supply of food and necessities and stayed in voluntary quarantine till the danger was over. Are you going to want to make that last supply run to get the stuff you forgot? Hope you wouldn't go out just for luxury items! Can you make do with what is in the house till the all clear is sounded?

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I've also heard the story [true or not] about the lack of cats. [Farmers should ALWAYS have cats!....and they spot bats too!]


Also heard of their urban crowding being an exacerbation, which is obvious in modern science. :gathering::behindsofa:


[The fall of Europe....it's the nasty, fraudulent banker's fault, huh? ] :shrug:


One advantage [if you can call it that] is that fast-acting diseases kill off the host so fast, there is less time to infect others. UNFORTUNATELY, as CGA noted, we are very mobile now. Still.......if this shows itself to be something severe within a few hours, it's better than if it seems benign for too long. I haven't been able to find what actual time between exposure...being contagious...and showing symptoms.






Bubonic plague: Patients develop sudden onset of fever, headache, chills, and weakness and one or more swollen, tender and painful lymph nodes (called buboes). This form usually results from the bite of an infected flea. The bacteria multiply in the lymph node closest to where the bacteria entered the human body. If the patient is not treated with the appropriate antibiotics, the bacteria can spread to other parts of the body.

Septicemic plague: Patients develop fever, chills, extreme weakness, abdominal pain, shock, and possibly bleeding into the skin and other organs. Skin and other tissues may turn black and die, especially on fingers, toes, and the nose. Septicemic plague can occur as the first symptom of plague, or may develop from untreated bubonic plague. This form results from bites of infected fleas or from handling an infected animal.

Pneumonic plague: Patients develop fever, headache, weakness, and a rapidly developing pneumonia with shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, and sometimes bloody or watery mucous. Pneumonic plague may develop from inhaling infectious droplets or may develop from untreated bubonic or septicemic plague after the bacteria spread to the lungs. The pneumonia may cause respiratory failure and shock. Pneumonic plague is the most serious form of the disease and is the only form of plague that can be spread from person to person (by infectious droplets).

Plague is a serious illness. If you are experiencing symptoms like those listed here, seek immediate medical attention. Prompt treatment with the correct medications is critical to prevent complications or death.

...RED lettering is mine





The plague bacteria can be transmitted to humans in the following ways:

Flea bites. Plague bacteria are most often transmitted by the bite of an infected flea. During plague epizootics, many rodents die, causing hungry fleas to seek other sources of blood. People and animals that visit places where rodents have recently died from plague are at risk of being infected from flea bites. Dogs and cats may also bring plague-infected fleas into the home. Flea bite exposure may result in primary bubonic plague or septicemic plague.

Contact with contaminated fluid or tissue. Humans can become infected when handling tissue or body fluids of a plague-infected animal. For example, a hunter skinning a rabbit or other infected animal without using proper precautions could become infected with plague bacteria. This form of exposure most commonly results in bubonic plague or septicemic plague.

Infectious droplets. When a person has plague pneumonia, they may cough droplets containing the plague bacteria into air. If these bacteria-containing droplets are breathed in by another person they can cause pneumonic plague. Typically this requires direct and close contact with the person with pneumonic plague. Transmission of these droplets is the only way that plague can spread between people. This type of spread has not been documented in the United States since 1924, but still occurs with some frequency in developing countries. Cats are particularly susceptible to plague, and can be infected by eating infected rodents. Sick cats pose a risk of transmitting infectious plague droplets to their owners or to veterinarians. Several cases of human plague have occurred in the United States in recent decades as a result of contact with infected cats.






MtRider :behindsofa: .............. :behindsofa: (for CGA) :lol:

Edited by Mt_Rider
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Being from the SW of US.....and CO specifically, I found this interesting.






The bacteria that cause plague, Yersinia pestis, maintain their existence in a cycle involving rodents and their fleas. In urban areas or places with dense rat infestations, the plague bacteria can cycle between rats and their fleas. The last urban outbreak of rat-associated plague in the United States occurred in Los Angeles in 1924-1925.

Since that time, plague has occurred in rural and semi-rural areas of the western United States, primarily in semi-arid upland forests and grasslands where many types of rodent species can be involved. Many types of animals, such as rock squirrels, wood rats, ground squirrels, prairie dogs, chipmunks, mice, voles, and rabbits can be affected by plague. Wild carnivores can become infected by eating other infected animals.

Scientists think that plague bacteria circulate at low rates within populations of certain rodents without causing excessive rodent die-off. These infected animals and their fleas serve as long-term reservoirs for the bacteria. This is called the enzootic cycle.

Occasionally, other species become infected, causing an outbreak among animals, called an epizootic. Humans are usually more at risk during, or shortly after, a plague epizootic. Scientific studies have suggested that epizootics in the southwestern United States are more likely during cooler summers that follow wet winters. Epizootics are most likely in areas with multiple types of rodents living in high densities and in diverse habitats.


RED lettering is mine...


We are indeed in the "upland forests/grasslands" area. We do INDEED have all those varieties of rodents. Our "pasture varmints" are in the high end of their [maybe 7 year] cycle. As I've noted elsewhere, our pasture CRAWLS with their robust population explosion this year. And where their is density of population [human, critter, or insect] there can be more chance of disease due to low resources and generally less health from the scarcity. Therefore......we are once again actively reducing their numbers before sickness befalls us all. <_<



We've watched the population rise and fall of several of the rodent species in our region. Their populations [and their fleas] are "reservoirs" for diseases, as mentioned above. This is a part of living rural. Know your area. Know your "enemy". AND ALWAYS PRACTICE CAREFUL HANDLING OF CRITTERS (dead or alive!) AND PRACTICE VERY CAREFUL PERSONAL HYGIENE!!!!!



MtRider ....learned young with the rabies thing! :dishes::bathbaby: ....well we don't have a HANDWASHING smilie.

Edited by Mt_Rider
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Want to read a good sci-fi about The Plague? Archeologists/sociologists of the future can study the past thru using time travel to actually experience it. One young gal ends up accidentally but with all her inoculations updated, in the baaad part of the 14th century.


Not free Ebook, mind you. But libraries should have it. Connie Willis has other books. I learned a lot of history about London during the blitz with one of her other books.





MtRider :pc_coffee:

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How about this:


The marmot (Marmota himalayana) is the main host of Y. pestis in Qinghai Province. Plague-infected marmots are more easily captured by hunters. When persons hunt and butcher marmots without any effective protection, Y. pestis can be transmitted through tiny wounds in the skin, by bites of infected fleas, or by the respiratory route. Asymptomatic plague infection in marmot hunters might be explained by prophylactic use of antimicrobial drugs. Most hunters usually take sulfamethoxazole or tetracycline as a prophylactic measure. Even if the hunters were infected with Y. pestis, they would likely not develop symptomatic plague. However, if the antimicrobial drugs are not effective or hunters do not use prophylaxis, symptomatic reported human cases of plague in infections will occur. Most Qinghai Province were caused by hunting or butchering marmots, as shown by a recent outbreak of plague in October 2004 in Qinghai, in which 19 cases were reported and 8 persons died (M. Li et al., unpub, data).




It is very possible that someone in the States, even in Colorado, that was hunting prairie dogs and was on antibiotics for something else, could get infected, then go into an asymptomatic carrier state and spread the stuff all over the place.

Edited by CrabGrassAcres
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But....if they are asymptomatic...they won't be coughing and spewing particles. Wouldn't it then be only by pretty close contact with body fluids? Unless they're harboring infected fleas, lice, scabies...... [getting out of my medical "pay grade" here ]



Scabies....now where has that been in the news lately as a carrier for other diseases..... :whistling:


MtRider ...ack! This topic is giving me the itches! :wacko:

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