Arizona health officials plan to start monthly monitoring of public areas along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon for plague.

Grand Canyon National Park officials say they're collaborating in the monitoring that will be conducted by the Coconino County Public Health Services District and involve testing fleas found on squirrels in the area.

According to park officials, if plague is found during the testing that will be conducted monthly through September, steps then will be taken to prevent it from spreading to the public.

Plague is a rare and sometimes fatal disease. It can be transmitted to humans through bites of rodent fleas or by direct contact with infected animals.

The last human case in Arizona occurred in 2008.