Squirrels Infected with Plague Found in Campground at YosemiteCatherine Kinney (Author) Published Date : Aug 17, 2015 23:38 ET
Officials said that last month a child became ill at Yosemite National Park with the plague while camping there. Now a campground that is highly popular with park goers is being shuttered after a number of squirrels have been killed by the disease.
The squirrels infected with the plague were found about a week ago at the Tuolumne Meadows Campground, which is approximately 40 miles to the west of the Crane Flat Campground, where the young child had been camping with family members.
Park officials said that in an extremely precautionary measure for public health they will apply an insecticide for fleas to the burrows of rodents and because of that were closing the campground between Monday August 17 to Friday August 21.
The plague is an infectious disease that can be carried by chipmunks, squirrels and other types of rodents by fleas. When a rodent that is infected falls ill and dies, its fleas are able to carry the disease to another animal or a human.
The child who fell ill with the plague recovered. She had contracted the plague back in the middle of July during a trip to the Stanislaus National Forest and the Yosemite campground.
On Friday, the campground at Crane Flat was reopened after being closed four nights for treatment with the flea insecticides, according to the Department of Public Health in California.
Although the presence of the contagious disease was confirmed at both the Tuolumne Meadows and Crane Flat campgrounds, the overall risk to the health of humans remains low, said a health department official.
In 2014, evidence the plague was present was detected in seven California counties. Animals infected with the plague are usually found in the mountains or foothills but can sometimes be found along the California coast.
Since 1970, 42 humans have been confirmed to have the plague in California, with 9 of the 42 dying from the disease.
Squirrels Infected with Plague Found in Campground at Yosemite