Man dies from plague after hunting near Breck | SummitDaily.com
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Man dies from plague after hunting near Breck

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PUEBLO – A 66-year-old man has died from bubonic plague in what is the first death in Colorado related to the disease since 1999, health officials said.The victim’s son identified him as Howard Warren Champlain.Champlain’s son, Kris, said the family was awaiting further word from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The plague victim died Wednesday at a hospital after being infected while rabbit hunting in Park County, health department Director Chris Nevin-Woods said.Kris Champlain said his father was hunting near Breckenridge and was hospitalized Monday.Nevin-Woods said the man had an open wound on his hand and may have been exposed while skinning an infected rabbit. More testing will be done on the rabbit for plague, she said.His death was the third case of plague this year. Colorado typically averages two cases of the bacterial disease each year. Since the first human case was reported in 1957, Colorado has reported 50 cases, including eight deaths.Humans can get the disease through bites from infected fleas or from handling an infected animal.”Plague is found throughout Colorado and cycles from year to year,” said John Pape, an epidemiologist with the state health department. “This summer we saw an increase in plague activity around the state including 20 cats, which are highly susceptible to the disease.”Symptoms in humans include high fever, fatigue, weakness and a painful, swollen lymph node, typically under the armpit, in the groin area or in the neck. The disease can be treated with antibiotics if recognized early.Pape said people can reduce their risk of infection by avoiding contact with sick rodents and rabbits, and by using gloves when cleaning or dressing game while hunting.”Do not feed rodents in picnic or campground areas and never handle sick or dead rodents. Leave your pets at home when visiting rural areas,” Pape said.


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