NMDOH: Cat identified with plague in Los Alamos County

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A cat in Los Alamos County has been diagnosed with the plague. This makes it the first plague case in the state this year. The New Mexico Department of Health says the cat got sick in early January. The bacterial disease is typically transmitted through insect bites or from eating infected animals. It can also be transmitted to humans. NMDOH reports that the cat has recovered after treatment.

“NMDOH staff will conduct an environmental survey to ensure the safety of the immediate family and neighbors,” said Secretary-Designate Dr. Tracie Collins in a press release. “We also offer a friendly reminder: Even in the midst of a global pandemic, New Mexico still has other diseases and there are steps people can take to protect themselves and their pets.”

The UNM Hospital is the state’s first comprehensive stroke center

According to a press release, symptoms of the plague in humans include sudden onset of fever, chills, headache and weakness. NMDOH says that in most cases there is swelling of the lymph node in the groin, armpit, or neck area. According to NMDOH, symptoms of plague in cats and dogs include fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite. The lymph nodes under the jaw may swell. NMDOH also says that with a quick response and diagnosis, and appropriate antibiotic treatment, the chances of death in humans and pets can be greatly reduced.

According to the NMDOH, doctors or veterinarians who suspect a plague should contact NMDOH immediately at 505-827-0006. NMDOH offers some tips for preventing plague:

  • Avoid sick or dead rodents and rabbits as well as their nests and burrows
  • Prevent your pets from running around and hunting
  • Talk to your veterinarian about using an appropriate flea control product on your pets
  • Get sick pets checked by a veterinarian immediately
  • Contact your doctor for any unexplained medical condition with a sudden and severe fever
  • Clean up areas near the house where rodents could live, such as the bathroom. B. piles of wood, piles of brushes, garbage and abandoned vehicles
  • Place piles of hay, wood, and compost as far away from your home as possible
  • Do not leave pet food and water where rodents and wildlife can access them