Researchers have traced a 2014 outbreak of plague in Colorado back to a pit bull, according to a new report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A Colorado man identified only as “Patient A” fell ill in late June and was incorrectly diagnosed with pneumonia, according to Friday’s report. More than a week later, doctors determined his fever, coughing and bloody mucus were caused by the bacteria Yersinia Pestis, which causes plague.
Doctors diagnosed the man with pneumonic plague, meaning the infection was in his lungs. It took 23 days in the hospital for him to recover, according to the report.
In the meantime, investigators with Colorado’s Tri-County Health Department found that the man’s dog, a 2-year-old American pit bull terrier, had recently been put to sleep after coming down with a severe fever and bloody cough. Two female veterinary workers who had contact with the dog fell ill with fevers and coughing a few days later.
Tests of the dog’s lung and liver tissues came back positive for plague.
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