FLEAS carrying the Black Death in America have sparked fears of a resurgent strain causing an epidemic – after several New Mexicans were struck down by the disease.
Health officials are now warning Americans to “take precautions” after insects in Arizona tested positively for the bubonic plague.
A spokesman for Navajo County wrote on Facebook: “Navajo County Health Department is urging the public to take precautions to reduce their risk of exposure to this serious disease, which can be present in fleas, rodents, rabbits and predators that feed upon these animals.
“The disease can be transmitted to humans and other animals by the bite of an infected flea or by direct contact with an infected animal.”
Residents have been told to avoid sick or dead animals and keep dogs on a leash.
They have also been asked to report anything suspicious to police.
The concerning news was confirmed when positive tests at two sites near Flagstaff found fleas were carrying the bacteria that causes plague, Yersinia pestis.
Symptoms of Black Death include tender and painful lymph nodes, chills, fever, headache, weakness, and fatigue.
It’s after three people needed hospital treatment after contracting the plague 400 miles away east in Santa Fe County, New Mexico, in June.
The Center for Disease Control says there are an average of seven infections a year in the US.
A similar outbreak happened in 2015 when three people died from the disease, which struck 11 people in total.
The areas affected were Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, New Mexico and Oregon.
Black Death: The disease which wiped out a quarter of the world’s population
THE Black Death was a medieval pandemic that swept through Asia and Europe during the 14th century.
It is thought to have killed around 25 million people when it reached Europe in the late 1340s and 100 million worldwide.
The disease came in three different forms.
The most common was the Bubonic plague, which caused painfully swollen lymph nodes in the groin, armpit, or neck.
The Septicemic plague spread in the bloodstream from fleas or someone else infected by th plague.
Finally the Pneumonic plague was the most infectious type, which is passed directly from person to person through airborne droplets coughed from the lungs.
The bubonic plague kills around 50 percent of those it infects.
The other two forms are almost always fatal if not treated with antibiotics.