Californians Warned of Plague Risk After Pathogen Found in Infected Chipmunks

According to news reports, South Lake Tahoe officials closed several areas in the area after chipmunks tested positive for plague.According to The Tahoe Daily Tribune, officials announced that Kiva Beach in South Lake Tahoe and Taylor Creek Visitor Center will be closed through Friday, August 6, following positive plague tests.According to the Daily Tribune, there was no contact between infected chipmunks and humans.According to the California Department of Health, the bacterium that causes plague, Yersinia Pestis, can be found in certain parts of California. This includes El Dorado County, where South Lake Tahoe is situated.Live Science reported that a South Lake Tahoe resident tested positive for plague last year. This was the first case in the state since 2005.Plague is most well-known for its role in the Black Death that struck Europe in the 1300s. Although infections still happen today, they are rare in humans and can be treated with common antibiotics.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are an average of seven cases per year in the United States.According to the CDC, most plague cases are found in northern New Mexico and northern Arizona. According to the agency, Africa has been the site of the majority of human plague cases worldwide since the 1990s.According to the CDC, rodents such as chipmunks and rats, along with their fleas spread the disease. According to the CDC, human can contract the plague from flea bites and contact with bodily fluids or tissues of infected animals.Officials advised that people who live in or visit plague-endemic regions should avoid contact with wild animals.Dr. Bob Hartmann, El Dorado County's interim county public health officer, stated in a statement that rodents should not be fed in campgrounds or picnic areas. He also warned against handling dead or sick rodents.According to the statement, pet owners should keep their pets out of rodent burrows. They should also wear long pants and use insect repellent to lessen flea exposure.The statement stated that local and state officials will conduct additional surveys of rodents this week in order to assess the risk to the public from plague.Similar content:27 devastating infectious diseases10 strange diseases that you can catch outside11 deadly (sometimes fatal) diseases that have jumped across speciesLive Science originally published this article. You can read the original article here.