Black Death found near Flagstaff again

flagstaff fleas plague black death

Fleas in Flagstaff were found to have the plague.(Photo: CDC/Janice Carr)

(SOURCE)  Fleas in Picture Canyon near Flagstaff are the latest to test positive for the plague in Arizona, officials announced Thursday.

The fleas are from prairie dog burrows in the popular hiking spot, north of Interstate-40, Coconino County Public Health Services District officials said in a release.

The plague, or Yersinia pestis, is the same disease that devastated Europe in the 17th century. It is also known as the Black Death.

Coconino Public Health officials urge visitors to avoid the burrows. Dogs are required by law to be on a leash.

The hiking trails now feature signage about presence of the plague. The City of Flagstaff and Coconino Public Health notified nearby residents.

Arizona is no stranger to the plague. Fleas in Doney Park tested positive for the plague in Sept. 2014. The Four Corners area has seen several outbreaks.

The plague can be transmitted to humans by infected fleas or contact with infected animals.

Symptoms appear in humans two to six days after exposure. Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, weakness, muscle pain, and swollen lymph glands in the groin, armpits, or limbs. The infection is curable with antibiotics.

Officials urged Picture Canyon visitors and residents to reduce their risk of exposure by preventing animals from roaming loose, and staying away from living or dead animals that may be infected.

People noticing a sudden reduction of rodent activity are urged to contact CCPHSD Environmental Services at 928-679-8750, as it may indicate plague infection nearby.