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Dog spreads plague to 4 people in U.S.

(NBC NEWS) An outbreak of plague that affected four people and a dog in Colorado might be the first instance of person-to-person transmission of plague in the United States in 90 years, officials said Thursday.

It started with a sick pit bull, and its owner, two vet techs and a close personal contact of the dog’s owner all ended up infected. The dog died but all four people were treated with antibiotics and are okay.

And while the Yersinia pestis bacteria that causes plague is usually passed along in flea bites, the pneumonic form that infects the lungs can be transmitted by little droplets in a cough or through other close contact.