Just week after reports of the literal plague being discovered in Colorado, killing a 10-year-old girl; officials are closing some areas on the south shore of Lake Tahoe after some chipmunks tested positive for plague.
The Tahoe Daily Tribune reports that the Taylor Creek Visitor Center, Kiva Beach and their parking areas will be off limits through Friday.
It spreads to humans through bites of infected fleas or through contact with infected animals via the bacteria Yersinia pestis, and causes severe symptoms which have a rapid onset, but El Dorado County spokesperson Carla Hass said on Monday that there has been no human contact (yet), though we do note that officials say symptoms of plague usually show up within two weeks of exposure to an infected animal or flea and include fever, nausea, weakness and swollen lymph nodes..
The CDC has written that "human plague infections continue to occur in rural areas in the western United States, but significantly more cases occur in parts of Africa and Asia." Some recent cases have been observed in places like Mongolia.
“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,” said Public Health Officer Dr. Nancy Williams in a press release last year when a person was the first in five years in California to contract plague.
“Human cases of plague are extremely rare but can be very serious.”
The question is - were the squirrels and chipmunks wearing masks?
Forest Service officials expect the facilities to be open again by the weekend.