Arizona Fleas Are Infected with One of History’s Deadliest Diseases

This disease was one of the deadliest in human history, responsible for killing approximately 25 million people in Europe alone.


In the year 1400, you were more likely to contract the Bubonic Plague and die than contract an education and read a book* (*this data only goes as far back as 1500, but it’s fair to assume people didn’t have Speak & Spells from 1400-1499). All told, the Black Death killed estimated 25 million people in Europe or about 30-60 percent of the total population.

Up until that point in history, the world had never really encountered such a vicious epidemic. And now that epidemic is back and setting up shop in the fleas from America’s 48th state.

(Another disease you can catch from small brown bugs is Lyme disease — here’s how to avoid it.)

According to Newsweek, fleas from two Arizona counties have been confirmed as carrying the highly contagious disease, although there have been no reports of infection. The bacteria can be spread through a bite from an infected flea or through direct contact with a diseased animal.

Back in June, three people were infected with the plague according to NPR. Human infections are incredibly rare, with about 300 cases reported each year, according to the World Health Organization. On average, seven of those cases are in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention. Worried about fleas in your home? Here are 12 home remedies to keep fleas away from your family

The Bubonic Plague was capable of spreading so readily due to increasing urbanization, horrendous health practices, and non-existent treatment. So, as long as you don’t dump your feces in the street and have access to antibiotics, you should be in the clear.

Also, here’ s a pro tip, avoid papayas for a bit while you’re at it.

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