A teenager in rural northern Colorado has died from a rare form of plague that he may have contracted from fleas on a dead rodent or other animal, health officials have said.

The 16-year-old from the Cherokee Park area, who was not named, died on June 8 but plague was only recently confirmed as the cause, the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment said in a statement.

The bacteria that causes plague occurs naturally in the western United States, primarily in California, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, according to the CDC.