Can popping a flea that has the bubonic plague transmit diease?

Asked September 18, 2015, 2:57 PM EDT

While attempting to rid my cats of fleas with a flea comb, by husband raised the question about whether popping them is a good idea. If one was infested with the bubonic plague theoretically it would expose me. Of course I wash my hands, but maybe it is a bad idea to kill a flea with fingernails?

Adams County Colorado fleas

1 Response

I have to start by saying that I'm not a medical professional. For a better answer you can contract Tri-County Health or your doctor.

We have a fact sheet on fleas which covers the potential transmission of plague which can be found here (near the end):
http://www.ext.colostate.edu/Pubs/insect/05600.html

My interpretation of the fact sheet is that the risk of transmission is low (but not zero) form "popping" them. A safer way to dispose of them would be to drown them in soapy water.

I hope this helps.