Capturing the wild outdoors in the Pikes Peak region (copy)

A pine squirrel.

Several squirrels have died near downtown Colorado Springs and public health officials suspect plague to be the cause.

The squirrels, found in Patty Jewett and Divine Redeemer neighborhoods, were tested for the disease and results are expected in coming days, a news release from El Paso County Public Health said.

The news comes two days after the health department discovered a squirrel on Colorado College's campus that likely had the disease.

El Paso County Public said the disease is not uncommon among rodents and small mammals during cooler summer months after wet winters.

Colorado surpassed average levels of precipitation by an inch during the past six months, a recent Gazette article reported.

The plague, which is spread through the bite of infected fleas or interaction with infected animals, can be successfully treated with antibiotics if caught early in people or pets, the health department said.

Symptoms of plague include fever, headache, chills, weakness and tender lymph nodes, according to the health agency.

To avoid exposure, officials recommended not touching wild animals and keeping pets away from dead animals.




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