Officials in New Mexico are warning residents in the East Mountains and Santa Fe county to be on the lookout after two dogs came down with the bubonic plague, more affectionately known as the Black Death.
“It is the plague,” said Dr. Mark Dimenna of the Environmental Health Department. “It is the bubonic plague, the Black Death. It’s the same organism that it always has been.”
Residents are advised to keep their dogs away from any rodent that might be carrying Black Death-laden fleas. These include rabbits, chipmunks, and squirrels. Experts also suggest removing brush and clutter, preferred hiding places for such animals, from around your house.
Dr. Paul Smith, also of the EHD, warned dog owners to be on the lookout for symptoms. “Dogs who do get sick will often exhibit a fever, be lethargic, just generally not acting normal,” he says. Cats can also be affected.
While there have been only 999 confirmed or probable cases in the U.S. since 1900, the Black Death is still potentially fatal.
For more on the Black Death, read how one man survived the plague.