Black Death, Prairie Dogs, Fleas and a Human Case in AZ
Back in May I posted several snippets on the recurrence of the plague in squirrels in the Denver park system. Now I just read a story at the USA Today website about a woman in northern Arizona contracting the plague from a flea bit. Seems that fleas can carry the disease from rodents to humans, and of course a bit from an infected animal would do the trick as well. Out in Arizona they are cautioning the populace about flea collars for house pets, staying away from rodent dens and wearing gloves when skinning your squirrels and prairie dogs!
Of course, as I mentioned in those postings from may, medical advancement has provided us with antibiotics to fight Black Death in humans, so the woman who caught it in Arizona should be on antibiotics now and is hopefully doing well. Never the less, the USA Today article notes that eight of the 48 human cases of plague reported in Arizona since 1977 have resulted in death. You can never be too careful, I guess.
On the other hand, you can handle medieval coins all day long and not worry a bit, so I suggest leaving the prairie dogs alone and taking up numismatic pursuits. Many coin dealers offer good selections of Medieval coinage, check out the new items in Tom Cederlind's buy or bid sale, look at the coins in Classical Numismatic Group's website, or stop by Allen Berman's website. Explore the world of Medieval coins through Medievalcoinage.com, check out European Medieval issues through Alex Basok's well designed Rusty Pennies site, investigate the stellar website of Marc Breitsprecher for ancient coins or contact Liz Cottam for more on Celtic coins at the Chris Rudd website. I'm sure you'll have some fun and I guarantee that you'll not pick up a single plague infested flea.