The New Mexico Department of Health has confirmed 10 cases of plague and 19 cases of tularemia in dogs and cats – “higher than average” this year – in multiple counties.
Plague-positive pets have been reported in Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Taos and Torrance counties; while pet positive tests for tularemia have been reported in Bernalillo, Los Alamos, Sandoval and Santa Fe counties.
Plague and tularemia are bacterial diseases of rodents and rabbits. Human contraction of plague is generally from flea bites, while human contraction of tularemia is from deer fly bites, Department of Health veterinarian Dr. Paul Ettestad said Monday. These illnesses also can be transmitted by direct contact with infected animals, including pets.
Ettestad said the contraction rate of both plague and tularemia this year “is higher than average, but not on a record pace.” In New Mexico, plague and tularemia are more prevalent in the spring and early summer.