Officials: Ada County Dog May Have Contracted Plague From Infected Ground Squirrels 

click to enlarge Shaded area represents scope of land where plague-infected ground squirrels have been discovered. - CENTRAL DISTRICT HEALTH DEPARTMENT
  • Central District Health Department
  • Shaded area represents scope of land where plague-infected ground squirrels have been discovered.

A dog in Ada County has likely contracted plague after coming into contact with infected ground squirrels south of Boise.

According to the Central District Health Department, the dog was taken to a veterinarian after falling ill at the end of May—around the same time that public health officials announced they had found instances of plague among ground squirrels in the area from Boise to the Snake River, and from Kuna to Mountain Home.

The department stated that preliminary tests had indicated the presence of plague in the dog and results of a test to confirm the disease are expected in about a week. Meanwhile, the dog has been treated and is recovering. Humans who came into contact with the dog are being monitored and receiving preventative medication as needed.

Plague can be transmitted through bites from infected fleas, but also direct contact with infected animals. Symptoms in humans include sudden fever, chills, headache and weakness. Animals suffering from the disease present fever, lethargy and loss of appetite. In all cases, lymph nodes will swell painfully.

Those who enter the area where plague has been found are cautioned to wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, apply DEET or permethrin on clothing, and use DEET on exposed skin.


So far plague has only be identified in ground squirrels, the department noted, not tree squirrels.

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