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Team Pete – be aware of plague in Schriever prairie dogs

The plague

According to El Paso County officials, the plague was confirmed as responsible for the death of two prairie dogs at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. Although this is a relatively regular occurrence on base and throughout the Colorado Front Range, awareness of symptoms and risks is the best way to keep residents and personnel safe, and the overall risk is extremely low. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Halle Thornton)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

While there is currently no public health concern about plague or indication of plague in the prairie dog population at Peterson Air Force Base, El Paso County officials confirmed the bacterium is responsible for the death of two prairie dogs on Schriever Air Force Base. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Plague occurs naturally in Colorado. The plague bacterium (Yersinia pestis) is transmitted by fleas and cycles naturally among wild rodents. Plague can also infect humans and their pets if they are bitten by an infected flea.

Out of an abundance of caution, Schriever AFB leadership has closed part of the running track closest to the impacted colony along the west perimeter fence line between the Enoch and Irwin gates. They have also closed the Blue Road west of the driveway to Buildings 901 and 902. Additionally, the 50th Civil Engineer Squadron is coordinating to secure a pesticide treatment in the affected colony to eradicate the fleas and reduce the likelihood of the plague spreading.

Members of Team Pete who live on or near Schriever AFB should take the following precautions:

  • Protect pets with flea powder, drops, or a new flea collar. Keep pets on a leash and out of wild rodent habitats.
  • Stay out of areas that wild rodents inhabit. If you enter areas with wild rodents, wear insect repellent and tuck pants cuffs into socks to prevent flea bites.
  • Avoid all contact with wild rodents, including squirrels; do not feed or handle them.
  • Do not touch sick or dead animals.
  • Use insect repellent that contains DEET to prevent flea bites.
  • Report dead or sick animals on Schriever AFB to 50th CES at 50.ces.ceie.workflow@us.af.mil or 719-567-3361

To report dead or sick animals on Peterson AFB or for any concerns involving plague in the Peterson animal population call 21st CES at 719-556-4030. For more information about plague, visit www.cdc.gov or call 800-CDC-INFO.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui