You sit down to read the paper. You’re flipping through the pages, and then…BAM! Two of the most jarring combinations of words you’ll ever see are staring you right in the face: Bubonic Plague.

I mean, Bubonic Plague, man!

As The Associated Press reports:

A dead tree squirrel found near City Park east of downtown Denver tested positive for bubonic plague, 9News reported. Workers with the Colorado Health Department tested the squirrel’s carcass found Wednesday and preliminary results were positive, the TV station reported. A person near the park noticed several dead squirrels in the neighborhood and reported the die off to Denver Animal Control.

Plague is found among rodent populations, including prairie dogs, in suburban and rural areas of Colorado every year, but experts say it is unusual to find the disease in the center of a city…

…Symptoms in humans include high fever, fatigue, weakness and a painful, swollen lymph node, typically under the armpit, in the groin area or in the neck. The disease can be treated with antibiotics if recognized early. Since plague was rediscovered in the Colorado in 1957, state health officials said there have been 58 human cases, with nine of those cases being fatal.

Okay, I know that the bubonic plague is found every year in Colorado, but that’s just a really, really scary-sounding term. Every time I see it mentioned in the news, my initial reaction is always the same: What the f@$%?. And if it’s really not as serious as it sounds, can we come up with a new name for it? Why not just call it “rodent plague” or something? Why do we have to conjure up images of dead Englishmen with black marks all over them lying around in the streets of London?