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Black-tailed prairie dogs are quite susceptible to sylvatic plague, but a new plague vaccine put in their food shows significant promise in the laboratory. The prairie dogs transmit the disease to endangered black-footed ferrets, who eat the prairie dogs and are also quite susceptible to the disease.
Along with other wild rodents, prairie dogs are also considered a significant reservoir of plague for other wildlife, domestic animals, and people in the western U.S. Prevention of plague in wild rodents by immunization could reduce outbreaks of the disease in animals, thereby reducing the risk for human exposure to the disease.