Colorado plague outbreak began with pit bull

Published 4:38 pm Friday, May 1, 2015

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers have traced the source of a 2014 outbreak of plague to a sick pet pit bull. 

Four cases of pneumonic plague turned up in June and July of 2014 in Colorado, all linked to an infected American pit bull terrier that was brought into a veterinarian’s office and later euthanized. 

According to the CDC’s report, infected people included the dog’s owner and three others who had contact with dog, one of which also shared contact with the infected owner. All the patients were treated and survived, as is common for the average of eight patients infected with plague in the U.S. each year. 

While it’s rare for human to contract the plague in North America, it is rarer still for humans to be infected by pets or by other humans instead of by fleas or rodents. According to the report the “only previously published case of direct transmission of plague from a dog to a human was reported from China in 2009.”