Today on America’s Newsroom, Bill Hemmer spoke to William La Jeunesse about an unusual occurrence of the pneumonic plague near Denver, Colorado and how people can avoid the feared disease.

“It is highly contagious, there is no vaccine and it passes person-to-person simply by coughing,” La Jeunesse warned. “Ideally, you need antibiotics in the first 48-hours. Left untreated, the pneumonic plague is 100% fatal.”

La Jeunesse went on to explain that the Colorado man—who is recovering after days of antibiotics—contracted the plague from his dog, which was infected by fleas from a dead rodent.

Jennifer House with the Colorado Department of Public Health said that, “(The pneumonic plague) is transmitted by fleas that live on rodents. Any individuals that are aware of any die-offs of small rodents—particularly prairie dogs, squirrels or rabbits—should notify their local health department.”

La Jeunesse stated that, “The symptoms can seem benign: fever, weakness, headache, nausea. Then, you start coughing up blood. The good news is, it is rare. Here’s the takeaway: get your pets away from dead rodents … use an approved anti-flea treatment for your pets … if you see a dead prairie dog on the side of the road, leave it."


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