July 14, 2020 -- After a squirrel tested positive for the bubonic plague in the town of Morrison in Colorado, health officials are warning that the disease can be contracted by household pets and people.
Humans can be infected through flea bites, the cough of an infected animal or through direct contact with blood or tissue from an infected animal, Jefferson County Public Health officials said in a statement, CBS News reported.
But they added that the risk "for getting plague is extremely low as long as precautions are taken," the statement said.
The officials advised pet owners who live near wild animal populations, or suspect their pets are ill, to consult a veterinarian, CBS News reported.
"Presently, human plague infections continue to occur in rural areas in the western United States, but significantly more cases occur in parts of Africa and Asia," according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If not treated, the plague can be deadly in up to 90% of cases, but modern antibiotics are effective in treating it, the CDC says.