A ground squirrel found in the Cedar Grove Campground on Palomar Mountain has tested positive for plague, San Diego County health officials announced on May 3rd. Officials found the infected animal during routine monitoring, according to local North Country Times. Humans can catch the often-fatal disease if they are bitten by infected fleas.
Officials said it’s not unusual to find plague in local mountains during the summer. People should look for warning signs posted in areas where plague has been found. People visiting the wilderness in mountain should avoid contact with wild animals, especially if they’re sick or dead, avoid camping by animal burrows, and treat pets for fleas or leave them at home. Anyone who has a sudden fever, chills, or tender, swollen lymph nodes within a week of visiting a known plague area should see a doctor immediately, officials advised.
Human plague in the United States has occurred as mostly scattered cases in rural areas (an average of 10 to 20 persons each year). Globally, the World Health Organization reports 1,000 to 3,000 cases of plague every year.
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