All posts in “plague”

The Plague rears its ugly head in Flagstaff area.

From time to time the Plague comes to the front of the news, we occasionally have the Plague at the 4 corners area of Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado. Recent testing in Coconino County in Northern Arizona, tested positive on prairie dogs in the Doney Park area.

Fleas in Flagstaff test positive for plague


We generally don’t have fleas in Phoenix, I think mainly due to lack of humidity. Flagstaff is at a higher altitude and has greater humidity levels.



Plague and you, what to do?

Plague and you

So we interact with animals occasionally and we need to know how and when to react?  If your doing any work at a cabin up north and/or around your home, I always suggest gloves. With Valley Fever I also suggest a dust mask because you never know what you might kick up in the air.

Second New Mexico plague case reported”  “4 cases of Plague in Colorado” Maybe you are doing some work in your attic or crawlspace and you find something, how and what do you do?

As I mentioned wear gloves and a mask as a precaution, if you are cleaning and you notice feces – stop and follow guidelines for that type of cleanup. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC)





Always better to be safe than sorry, take precautions and follow the guidelines on cleaning or if you see rodents on your property. Also Poison Control  1-800-222-1222 may have additional information on these topics.


What about “The Plague”?


New Mexico man is the state’s first plague case of 2014.

Plague is a bacterial disease of rodents and is generally transmitted to humans through the bites of infected fleas, but can also be transmitted by direct contact with infected animals, including rodents, wildlife and pets.

Symptoms in humans include sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, and weakness.

Always be aware of those things that surround us each and every day, you don’t need to panic but just be aware. If you are visiting areas where ticks or fleas are prevalent then just take precautions against them.


Photo by PPMA

Nothing is for sure, new research…


Well they say nothing is for certain except death and taxes and I’m beginning to understand that this might be true. Researchers are now saying that the “Black Death was not spread by rat fleas” but may have been more of an airborne issue.

They are doing research on bodies, primarily the teeth of about 25 human remains from the London area.

According to scientists working at Public Health England in Porton Down, for any plague to spread at such a pace it must have got into the lungs of victims who were malnourished and then been spread by coughs and sneezes. It was therefore a pneumonic plague rather than a bubonic plague.

The theory is that it would be almost impossible to spread that quickly unless it was airborne. So further testing continues on this dreaded killer of man.


Fleas and Plague.

Fleas and history. I love history and this is one I don’t want to see us repeat. 2/3 of Europe was extinguished in the blink of an eye and the Justinian Plague wiped out 1/2 of the known world at the time. It is often called the Black death as people would develop bubo or these black looking bumps on the skin, often in areas of the lymph nodes within our bodies. Humans usually contract the plague after being bitten by a rodent flea that is carrying the bubonic plague bacterium or by handling an animal infected with plague, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To prevent the disease from spreading to humans, ADHS warns visitors and residents not to allow pets to roam freely, as well as treating them with flea-prevention medications; to avoid contact with sick or dead animals and to stay away from rodent burrows; to wear insect repellents to keep fleas away when hiking or working in areas where plague might be active; and to wear rubber gloves when skinning and cleaning game animals.

I also had no idea but there are about 2000 cases of bubonic plague reported yearly. Scary!

Animals, such as rodents, squirrels, pack rats, prairie dogs, mice, chipmunks, voles, and rabbits can be affected by plague. Wild carnivores can become infected by eating other infected animals. Symptoms may include fever, chills, weakness and muscle pain. I’ve heard of cases in the 4 Corner region of Arizona, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico but New York City rats have also been tested in the past with no reports yet of the bacterium. Did you know that they believe there are over 8 million rats in NYC, wow.

Dr. Bug suggest the best way to protect ourselves from these potential infections is to keep the rat population under control. Removing food, water and  shelter are key to eliminating rodent infestations. Keep them out, if you see one there are probably more. Fix holes and prevent access and door guards are essential.

Fleas Photo by Univar

fleas Photo by Univar


Rodents – why are they scary?


Did you know Rodents encompass 43% of all mammals on earth, the mouse is #2 and Norway rat is #3.

There are about 4260 species of mammals known on this planet at the moment, though taxonomists are still arguing and species are still being found.

Diseases directly transmitted by rodents (thanks to the CDC)

Bubonic Plague right on our doorstep in New Mexico


New Mexico reports second human case of Plague of 2013 in Torrence County Girl” Plague is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium, Yersinia pestis. It is found in animals throughout the world, most commonly rats but other rodents like ground squirrels, prairie dogs, chipmunks, rabbits and voles. Fleas typically serve as the vector of plague. Human cases have been linked to the domestic cats and dogs that brought infected fleas into the house.

Squirrel with bubonic plague closes campgrounds in Angeles National Forest – July 2013

So did you think that Bubonic Plague was a long forgotten disease, or how about Hanta Virus, Lyme disease  or Rabies? Every once in awhile these little diseases pop up around the U.S. and we all need to remind ourselves of their potential to kill.

probestDSC03962  Rub marks where rats are getting into the structure.

Diseases are all around us, what can you do to prevent them?


New cases of things that you probably thought were gone rebound from time to time. California has recently issued a notice about Bubonic Plague from the Sacramento Bee by Bill Lindelof  “El Dorado warns of plague danger, urges avoidance of rodents“.

Every once in awhile we run across Hanta Virus or the Plague here in Arizona, the risk is really an issue in places where deer mice or rodents are on the run.

So what do you do?

  • Seal up holes in you home, don’t let the rodents in.
  • Check your home monthly for issues.
  • If you notice rodent droppings, use care in cleaning them up and try to figure out how they are getting in.
  • Don’t allow trees to touch your home, it makes a great highway for all type of things.
  • Don’t store stuff against the outside of the home.
  • If you have a cabin, use care in cleaning up – dust and urine can become airborne and can carry all sorts of stuff.


Picture provided by Univar

My favorite books…

My favorite books…

I enjoy history and geography, so my tastes lean to this genre…

The American Plague” by Molly Caldwell Crosby – Yellow Fever the epidemic that shaped our history

Another favorite is “The Jungle” mainly due to history about the meatpacking industry and it lead to the FDA (thank goodness). Have you ever noticed bugs in your cereal?

I also enjoy reading John Grisham, Dan Brown and Clive Cussler.

Someone has lost it in Washington D.C. —– amazing new law

Someone has lost it in Washington D.C. —– amazing new law.

DC Rat Law ‘Crazier then Fiction’ – Requires Rats to Be Relocated with Families

VA AG Fears DC Law May Relocate Rat ‘Families’ to Virginia

OK so sometimes you see stuff and you think how the hell did that happen? This has got to be one of those events, somebody who thought this was a good idea and somehow people went along with this. Rodents rats, mice are vermin – plain and simple. Now I understand that rats deserve a place on this earth, its just not in our homes or businesses. If you don’t keep check on things they will take over or spread disease – just like the Plague in the 14th Century – 1/3 to 1/2 of Europe died.

Cuccinelli said D.C.’s new rat law–the Wildlife Protection Act of 2010 (Wildlife Protection Act of 2010.pdf) –is “crazier than fiction” because it requires that rats and other vermin not be killed but captured, preferably in families; no glue or snap traps can be utilized; the rodents must be relocated from where they are captured; and some of these animals may need to be transferred to a “wildlife rehabilitator” as part of their relocation process.

The law does not allow pest control professionals “to kill the dang rats,” Cuccinelli told “They have to capture them–then capture them in families. [Not sure] how you’re going to figure that out with rats. And then you have to relocate them. That brings us to Virginia. Now, if you don’t relocate them about 25 miles away, according to experts, rodents will find their way back. Well, an easy way to solve that problem is to cross a river, and what’s on the other side of the river? Virginia.”

Hantavirus and Plague                               Filthy Cities (Medieval London) and early New York…

My opinion – BAD MOVE, vermin are vermin – end of story. Who comes up with this stuff?

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