Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Step away from the field mouse

Don't pet the little critters. A campground at Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah has been closed because bubonic plague was detected among field mice and chipmunks there. Plague has also been found this spring in rodent populations at Mesa Verde National Park and Colorado National Monument.

The plague can be transmitted to people through flea bites and direct contact with infected animals. Human infection is unusual, but the most common transmission is from cats and dogs who can contract plague by catching and eating infected animals, or by being bitten by fleas that carry the plague.

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