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Bubonic plague is the most common form of plague. This occurs when an infected flea bites a person or when materials contaminated with plague bacteria (Y. pestis) enter through a break in a person's skin. Bubonic plague does not spread from person to person through casual contact.

Plague is usually transmitted to humans by the bites of infected rodent fleas. Persons and animals that visit places where rodents have recently died from plague risk getting the disease from flea bites. Dogs and cats are also susceptible to plague and may bring plague-infected fleas into the home.
   Prairie Dogs
Bubonic plague should be suspected when a person develops a swollen gland or node, fever, chills, headache, and extreme exhaustion, and has a history of possible exposure to infected rodents, prairie dogs, rabbits, or fleas.

  • AVOID FLEAS by protecting pets with a flea treatment, and keeping pets on a leash and out of areas inhabited by rodents.
  • STAY OUT of areas where rodents live. If you enter rodent prone areas, wear insect repellent and tuck pants cuffs into socks to prevent flea bites.
  • AVOID all contact with rodents in the wild, including prairie dogs and squirrels; do not feed or handle them.
  • DO NOT TOUCH sick or dead animals.
  • PREVENT rodent infestations around your house: clear plants and materials away from outside walls, reduce access to food items, and set traps.
  • TREAT known rodent sites around your home with flea powder or other insecticide.
  • SEE A PHYSICIAN if you become ill with a high fever and/or a swollen lymph node. Plague is a treatable illness.
  • SEE A VETERINARIAN if your pet becomes ill with a high fever and/or an open sore. Pets with plague can transmit the illness to humans.

Broomfield Public Health and Environment, Health Protection 720.887.2220