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Case of Plague Confirmed in U.S.

July 11, 2024

Public health officials have confirmed a human case of plague in Pueblo County, Colorado. Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment (PDPHE) detected the case last week from preliminary tests, and the potential source of the infection is still under investigation.

The plague bacterium (Yersinia pestis) is transmitted by fleas and cycles naturally among wild rodents. Plague occurs naturally and can infect humans and their pets. People get plague from bites of infected fleas, by touching or skinning infected animals, or inhaling droplets from the cough of an infected person or animal.

Typical symptoms of plague include sudden fever and chills, severe headache, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and a feeling of illness. A common symptom of plague is also swollen lymph nodes with pain. 

“Plague can be treated successfully with antibiotics, but an infected person must be treated promptly to avoid serious complications or death,” said Alicia Solis, PDPHE program manager of the office of communicable disease and emergency preparedness.

PDPHE advised individuals to protect themselves and their pets by:

  • Eliminating places that rodents can hide and breed around your home, garage, shed, and recreation area, including remove brush, rock piles, trash, and piles of lumber.
  • Avoiding contact with dead animals.
  • Using insect repellent that contains 20% to 30% DEET to prevent flea bites.
  • Not letting pets sleep in bed with you.
  • Treating dogs and cats for fleas regularly.
  • Not allowing pets to hunt or roam in rodent areas, including prairie dog colonies.
  • Keeping pet food in rodent-proof containers.

An average of seven human plague cases are reported each year in the United States, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tracked. Typically plague occurs in the western U.S., with most cases in New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. Globally since the 1990s, most human cases occurred in Africa.

2024 Hurricane Forecast Update Predicts More Storms

The latest Atlantic outlook increases count by two named storms and one hurricane for this record-breaking year.

July 11, 2024

This week, Colorado State University (CSU) weather forecasters predicted an increase in the number of Atlantic hurricanes expected in 2024. CSU meteorologists expect 25 named storms, and of those storms, a dozen will be hurricanes before Nov. 30. Six of those hurricanes are expected to be major or Category 3, meaning the hurricanes will have winds greater than 111 miles per hour. This updated forecast includes the first three named storms from June and earlier this month, including Hurricane Beryl.

In the CSU April forecast, the team predicted five major hurricanes out of 11 from 23 named storms, as CMM previously reported.

CSU emphasized it is predicting an extremely active hurricane season as sea surface temperatures remain near record-warm levels. “Extremely warm sea surface temperatures provide a much more conducive dynamic and thermodynamic environment for hurricane formation and intensification,” the report said. Additionally, the CSU team anticipates reduced levels of tropical Atlantic vertical wind shear, which would help to cool the temperatures.

“Hurricane Beryl, a deep tropical Category 5 hurricane, is also a likely harbinger of a hyperactive season,” the report said. “We anticipate a well above-average probability for major hurricane landfalls along the continental U.S. coastline and in the Caribbean. As with all hurricane seasons, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season. Thorough preparations should be made every season, regardless of predicted activity.”

The CSU forecast is well above the 30-year average for both hurricanes and storms, and pointedly above the 20 storms, seven hurricanes, and three Category 3-plus hurricanes last year, The Weather Channel reported. This year, Hurricane Beryl has already broken records for being earlier than normal, and Chris, a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico, became the third named storm ahead of schedule. The average third tropical storm typically develops on Aug. 3, and the first hurricane historically forms on Aug. 11, The Weather Channel reported.

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