YODER, Colo. -

The El Paso County Public Health Department confirmed that a wild rabbit has tested positive for the bubonic plague.

The department found the rabbit near an empty prairie dog burrow in Yoder.

Local residents say the prairie dog population has greatly declined over the past two months.

“One day, we just noticed we didn’t have many (prairie dogs) running around and then the vultures came,” said Yoder resident Chad St. Louis.
 
Wade and Danelle Kelly have lived in the Yoder area for 10 years. They say the recent plague discovery is worrisome.

“We play with our animals, and they’re outside, if they come in and bring something like that inside, what could happen to us?” said Wade Kelly.

Danelle Kelly says she will keep a closer eye when she lets her animals go outside.

“It’s something to be very worried about and pay attention to,” she said.

 A public health specialist went door-to-door to issue a health alert to nearby residents.

He gave them flyers to raise awareness and ask people to take precautions to prevent plague.

El Paso County Public Health says the plague is most commonly transmitted by fleas, and that avoiding flea exposure is key to stopping the spread of the disease.