Prairie dog plague outbreak cancels fireworks show

SAN FRANCISCO - UNDATED: A prairie dog peeks out from a hole at the San Francisco Zoo in this undated file photo. An official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention answered questions June 9, 2003 regarding the viral disease Monkeypox, which is thought to be spread by prairie dogs. The Monkeypox virus has been detected in the Americas for the first time with approximately 20 cases reported in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) — Colorado officials have closed parks and canceled a Major League Soccer game’s fireworks display after plague was confirmed in prairie dogs in a Denver suburb.

The Tri-County Health Department said Thursday that prairie dog burrows in Commerce City are being sprayed with insecticide to kill fleas that could transmit the disease to the rodents, people and pets.

Health officials say Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge and Prairie Gateway Open Space are temporarily closed.

Colorado Rapids officials say Saturday’s game against the Montreal Impact will go on as scheduled, but they have canceled a fireworks show planned for afterward. Parking at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, where the Rapids play, is restricted to asphalt lots.

Rapids officials said in a statement the precautions will minimize the risk of exposure to fans, players and employees.

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