Campground Squirrel Tests Positive for Plague

By Monica Garske
|  Saturday, May 11, 2013  |  Updated 12:55 PM PDT
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Campground Squirrel Tests Positive for Plague

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A squirrel at the Cedar Grove Campground in Palomar Mountain has tested positive for plague, according to the county Department of Environmental Health.

Environmental health officials say the ground squirrel was trapped during a recent routine monitoring. Testing showed the rodent had plague, which marks the first case of plague found this year.

Officials say it’s not unusual to find plague in local mountains, especially during warmer months.

For now, warning signs have been posted in all areas where the plague has been confirmed.

Health officials say campers and hikers in the area should avoid contact with any squirrels and their fleas since plague is a bacterial disease that can be transmitted to humans through the bite of infected fleas on wild rodents.

Officials also say campers should set up tents away from squirrel burrows, and avoid feeding or playing with squirrels.

There have been no locally acquired human cases of plague reported in San Diego County. If you become ill within one week of visiting a known plague area, officials say you should immediately contact a doctor. Symptoms include sudden fever, chills and tender, swollen lymph nodes.

For more information about plague surveillance, call the Vector Control Program visit this website.
 

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