Colorado teen’s deadly ‘mystery illness’ was the plague, health officials say

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Taylor Gaes, a high school quarterback and baseball player, died on June 8.

FT. COLLINS, Colo. (June 22, 2015) – A Colorado teenager who died from a mystery illness this month had the plague, according to health officials.

Taylor Gaes had become infected with septicemic plague. The high school student may have contracted the deadly illness from fleas on a dead rodent or other animal, reports KDVR.

Septicemic plague occurs when the bacteria gets directly into the bloodstream. It’s highly fatal unless treated quickly. Gaes, a high school quarterback and baseball player, died on June 8.

Larimer County (Colo.) health officials said there’s a small chance others may have been bitten by inflected fleas in the Cherokee Park area. Anyone who visited should watch for flu-like symptoms and seek medical attention immediately if they come down with a fever, local health officials said.

For more about the plague, visit the CDC’s website.

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