2nd cat in a week believed to have died from plague in southern - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

2nd cat in a week believed to have died from plague in southern Idaho

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BOISE, Idaho -

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game say preliminary lab tests show that a second cat from Elmore County likely died of plague. This is the second cat in the last week thought to have have died from the bacterial infection. 

Officials say the most recent cat lived both indoors and outdoors and had contact with ground squirrels before becoming ill. Family members and other household pets are being monitored to ensure the cat did not spread the infection. The cat live approximately two miles from Mountain Home in an area previously identified with confirmed plague. 

“We want to emphasize that plague is likely present at some level in ground squirrel populations throughout the sagebrush habitat in southern Idaho. With the known confirmed cases in these areas we want to people to be aware and be able to take appropriate steps to protect themselves and their pets from plague,” said Dr. Mark Drew, State Wildlife Veterinarian.

Officials say plague is transmitted through the bites of infected fleas and can cause serious illness to people and pets, if not treated quickly. It also can be transmitted to people by direct contact with infected animals, including rodents, rabbits and pets. Common rodents that can become infected include ground squirrels, rats, voles and mice. Tree squirrels in Idaho are not known to carry plague.

Public health officials urge everyone to take proper precautions to protect themselves and their pets against plague regardless of where they live in proximity to the latest area of impact.

For more information on plague, or to report a rodent die-off of five or more animals, visit https://idfg.idaho.gov/plague.

- General overview: www.cdc.gov/plague/
- FAQs: www.cdc.gov/plague/faq/index.html
- Idaho Department of Fish and Game: fishandgame.idaho.gov

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