A squirrel found at a local campground recently tested positive for plague, according to San Diego vector control officials.
A ground squirrel found at the Cedar Grove Campground on Palomar Mountain recently tested positive for plague, according to County of San Diego vector control officials.
The squirrel was trapped during routine monitoring at the campground.
Environmental health officials are now warning the public to take precautions to protect themselves from possible exposure to the disease when camping and visiting parks.
“Set up tents away from squirrel burrows, do not feed the squirrels and warn your children not to play with squirrels,” said Jack Miller, Director of the Department of Environmental Health.
Miller said it is not unusual to find plague in San Diego’s local mountains in summer months. For this reason, Miller said campers should avoid contact with squirrels, chipmunks and other wild animals.
According to environmental health official, plague is a bacterial disease of wild rodents that can be transmitted to humans through a bite of infected fleas.
To date, there have been no locally acquired human cases of plague reported in San Diego County, but officials still urge campers to take precautions seriously.
"Plague Warning" signs are posted in all areas where plague has been confirmed.
Visitors, hikers and campers in rural mountain areas should look for these signs and be aware.
For more information about plague surveillance, call the Vector Control Program at (858) 694-2888 or visit the San Diego Vector Control website.