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Plague Found in Prairie Dog Colony at Texas Campground

Pathogens from the same plague that wiped out 30 percent of the world's population in the 14th century have been found near Lake Meredith in Texas. One out of six flea samples taken from a nearby campground showed the plaguepathogen. The samples were screened at the Centers for Disease Control in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Suspicion was aroused when a nearby prairie dog town was completely wiped out. Chief Ranger Bill Briggs said a maintenance worker noticed the absence of the normal activity of the 50-100 prairie dogs. After digging at thesite, no carcasses or signs of the rodents could be found.

The campground has been closed since last week. Briggs has announced that Dr. Jim Alexander, a veterinarian with the Texas Department of Health, will go to the campground to determine if it can be safely reopened. "He's going to come out here, look around and search out possible problems and determine prudent recreational use," says Briggs. "We know now we don't want anyone near those [prairie dog] holes."

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