- The Washington Times - Monday, August 14, 2017

Health officials in Arizona confirmed that fleas in at least two counties have tested positive for plague, ABC news reported over the weekend. While the disease is considered a relic of the Middle Ages, cases have popped up in the southwestern U.S.

“Navajo County Health Department is urging the public to take precautions to reduce their risk of exposure to this serious disease, which can be present in fleas, rodents, rabbits and predators that feed upon these animals,” the public health warning states, ABC news reported on Friday. “The disease can be transmitted to humans and other animals by the bite of an infected flea or by direct contact with an infected animal.”

In June, New Mexico health officials confirmed that three people had contracted the plague, which is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected flea. In 2016, there were at least 16 cases of the plague, which resulted in four deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The federal health body lists three types of plague: Bubonic, Septicemic and Pneumonic. The onset of symptoms appear as flu-like — fever, chills, headache, weakness — but swelling in the groin, armpit or neck areas are unique to the plague.

Reported cases in the U.S. in the present day are usually concentrated in the southwest, in areas where rodents congregate and feasting fleas can contract the virus and then pass it onto humans.

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