The New Mexico Department of Health’s Scientific Laboratory confirmed plague this week in a dog that lived near San Jon in Quay County. Other confirmed animal plague cases this year include a dog and cat from Santa Fe County (city of Santa Fe and Eldorado) and a dog and cat from Rio Arriba County (Alcalde and Abiquiu area). All cases have recovered. No human plague or Hantavirus cases have been confirmed so far this year.
“The increased winter and spring precipitation can stimulate increases in rodent populations and lead to increased plague and Hantavirus activity,” Ettestad said. “Plague cases in pets serve as a warning that there is plague activity in rodents and their fleas, and human cases can follow. Pets infected with plague are hunters who have eaten an infected rodent or been bitten by a rodent’s fleas prior to getting ill. Pets can transport the fleas back into the home where they can infect people.”
In New Mexico, there were six human cases of plague in 2009: three from Santa Fe County, two from Bernalillo County and one from Sandoval County. One of the Santa Fe County cases was a fatal case in an 8-year-old boy.
Four cases of Hantavirus occurred in New Mexico in 2009, one each from Rio Arriba, Taos, Santa Fe, and San Miguel counties. None were fatal. Two cases of Hantavirus occurred in New Mexico in 2008, one each from Taos and Otero counties. Both of which were fatal.
Source: New Mexico Department of Health