Last week a sick dog from outside Larimer County was euthanized at the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital (CSU VTH) after being hospitalized for four days. This dog tested positive forYersinia pestis, the bacteria that cause plague. The type of plague this dog had was pneumonic plague, which is a lung infection. The dog may have become infected by sniffing a dead prairie dog a day or two before becoming ill.
There is no plague risk to the general public, clients of the hospital, or to staff and students on the CSU campus other than those that cared for the dog or handled tissue specimens at the hospital. CSU VTH has identified students and staff who worked closely with this animal and has reached out to those individuals. For those with a high-risk direct exposure, preventative treatment has been recommended. The need for preventive treatment depends on the length and proximity of exposure to the dog. Persons with less exposure may be asked to monitor their temperature for fever for a week. Those who were exposed to the dog pose NO danger to anyone else as long as they do not become sick themselves.