Plague has been identified as a disease of
concern to human, wildlife and domestic animal populations within the United
States. When one thinks of plague one thinks of the
Black Plague in Europe in the Dark Ages that was spread by rodents. However,
plague also affects wildlife where a reservoir of the disease is maintained.
Plague, a flea borne bacterial disease introduced to North America in the late
1800s, spreads rapidly across a landscape, causing devastating effects to wildlife and
posing risks to people. Conservation and recovery efforts for imperiled species
such as the black footed ferret and Utah prairie dog are greatly hampered by
the effects of plague. Eruptions of the fatal disease have
wiped out prairie dog colonies, as well as dependent ferret populations, in
many locations over the years.