Chipmunks in the South Lake Tahoe area have tested positive for plague. Currently, vector control treatments are being administered to the infected rodents. Taylor Creek Visitor Center, Kiva Beach, and their sanctioned parking areas are closed through Friday.
Who had plague chipmunks for August?
Luckily, the positive tests that were found in chipmunks did not have human exposure. These cases are not unknown in the California area, and there are usually scattered cases of plague in animals. Officials say that people who come across dead animals in the area (or anywhere for that matter) should avoid them when possible. The same goes for your pets as the plague can be transferred by fleas living on the corpses.
El Dorado County Public Health states that plague is naturally present in many parts of California, including higher elevations. Last year Public Health Officer Dr. Nancy Williams said in a press release that it’s important to take precautions against these things when outdoors.
“It’s important that individuals take precautions for themselves and their pets when outdoors, especially while walking, hiking or camping in areas where wild rodents are present. Human cases of plague are extremely rare but can be very serious.”
Last year was the first case of the plague in a human in five years and to make sure that no one contracts it this year they’ve closed the areas off to tourists. They expect to have things opened back up by Saturday August, 7th.
Plague is a bacterial disease with symptoms can show up as far as two weeks after contracting it. Signs of plague include fever, nausea, weakness and swollen lymph nodes. If caught early it can be treated with antibiotics.