|Description:||This image depicts a captured squirrel, which was being examined for the presence of fleas. Any fleas found, would then be tested for the presence of the plague pathogen, Yersinia pestis. A fine-toothed comb was being run through the rodent’s fur in order to dislodge any flea, or flea eggs, i.e., nits, into the catch pan beneath the specimen.|
When collecting specimens during a suspected, or confirmed epizootic, one must consider what types of rodents or fleas are involved, their distributions and numbers, any evidence of morbidity or mortality, the scope and extent of the epizootic, and its proximity to human determined through observations, examination of burrows and nests, and judicious and well-planned trapping. Trapped animals should be etherized and combed to remove fleas, as was being done here.