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Lake Tanhoe-based Chipmunks in California Tested Positive for the Plague

Chipmunks in California have tested positive for the plague. Many local officials have closed several locations on the south shore of Lake Tahoe.While the U.S. Forest Service works to conduct vector control treatments to the impacted areas, The Tahoe Daily Tribune reported that the Taylor Creek Visitor Center, Kiva Beach and their parking areas will be off-limits to visitors through Friday. The USFS expects the facilities to reopen by the weekend.

El Dorado County spokeswoman Carla Hass said that the Chipmunks that were tested had no contact with any humans and the city’s public health services show that the plague is naturally present in some areas of the Golden State. The plague is an infectious bacterial disease.

There is a possibility of it being spread by Chipmunks and other wild rodents and their fleas. People, symptoms can show up within two weeks of exposure to an infected animal and include fever, nausea, weakness and swollen lymph nodes. If caught early, plague infections can be treated with the use of antibiotics. However, some cases may be fatal if not treated early.

Hikers and others who enjoy outdoor activities are advised to avoid contact with animals and should do the same for their pets. El Dorado County Interim County Public Health Officer Dr Bob Hartmann said in a news release that the individuals can reduce their risk of becoming infected with plague by taking simple precautions, including avoiding contact with wild rodents and their fleas. They do not feed rodents in picnic or campground areas and never handle sick or dead rodents. Also, leave your pets at home when visiting areas with elevated plague risk. This type of plague was first introduced to the U.S. in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

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