By Don Corrigan
As if humans aren’t suffering enough woe from the COVID-19 pandemic, now comes word of a new outbreak of bubonic plague in squirrels. A squirrel found in Colorado on July 11 tested positive for the bubonic plague.
This is the first known case of the plague this year in Colorado and the Southwest United States.
In researching the book, “Nuts About Squirrels,” this writer found any number of cases of squirrels carrying bubonic plague in southern California in recent decades.
The plague is a bacterial disease which brought untold suffering and carnage to the Mediterranean and Europe in the Middle Ages. Also known as black death, it wiped out as many as 200 million people and literally reduced the human population of the Earth by as much as a third. Bubonic plague is spread to humans from rodents, such as rats and squirrels, although it can be transmitted to humans when fleas feed on the blood of sick rats and squirrels and then bite humans.