Public health officials in Colorado reported a fatal case of plague in Archuleta County on 25 September 2023. It is not known how the person became infected. This was the second case of plague in Colorado this year. The first was reported in Montezuma County in June 2023.
Plague is a severe bacterial infection which spreads to humans mainly by the bite of infected fleas, or from having close contact with infected animals or people. It is rare in the USA but is known to occur in wild rodents, espcially priairie dogs.
Plague is rare in international travellers. The risk is highest in those visiting endemic regions who come into close contact with local wildlife, particularly rats or other rodents or who are in a healthcare environment. Activities which may increase this risk include:
Travellers should be advised to:
No vaccine is available for plague. Progression of the disease may be prevented with appropriate antibiotic treatment.
For further information, see the TRAVAX Plague page.