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The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment laboratory yesterday identified pneumonic plague in a Colorado resident. Investigation revealed the family dog had recently died unexpectedly. The carcass was recovered and tested at the Colorado State University Veterinarian Diagnostic Laboratory, where tests were positive for plague.
Tri-County Health Department officials and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment are working together to investigate the source of exposure and to identify those who may have been exposed through close contact with the individual. Any individuals exposed will be recommended for antibiotic treatment.
Pneumonic plague, a severe type of lung infection, is one of three main forms of plague, all of which are caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. It is more virulent and rare than bubonic plague. The difference between the versions of plague is simply the location of the infection in the body; the bubonic plague is an infection of the lymphatic system, the pneumonic plague is an infection of the respiratory system, and the septicaemic plague is an infection in the blood stream.
Typically, pneumonic form is due to a spread from infection of an initial bubonic form. Primary pneumonic plague results from inhalation of fine infective droplets and can be transmitted from human to human without involvement of fleas or animals. Untreated pneumonic plague has a very high fatality rate.
The most apparent symptom of pneumonic plague is coughing, often with hemoptysis (coughing up blood). With pneumonic plague, the first signs of illness are fever, headache, weakness and rapidly developing pneumonia with shortness of breath, chest pain, cough and sometimes bloody or watery sputum.
The pneumonia progresses for two to four days and may cause respiratory failure and shock. Patients will die without early treatment, some within 36 hours.
Initial pneumonic plague symptoms can often include the following:
Rapidly developing pneumonia with:
Shortness of breath
Bloody or watery sputum (saliva and discharge from respiratory passages).
originally posted by: solongandgoodnight
where about in Colorado? my wife and son are flying to Denver today.
The patient and the dog may have been exposed in eastern Adams County