Chipmunks near Lake Tahoe test positive for the plague

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Chipmunks near Lake Tahoe test positive for the plague

Chipmunks near the south shore of Lake Tahoe in California have tested positive for the plague, prompting officials to shut down several spots in the area to protect visitors.

The infected chipmunks had no known contact with people before testing positive, El Dorado County spokeswoman Carl Hass said.

Health officials said that the infectious bacterial disease is naturally present in some areas of the state, including El Dorado County where South Lake Tahoe is located.

The disease, which caused the Black Death in Europe in the 1300s, can be spread by chipmunks, other wild rodents and their fleas.

Humans tend to experience symptoms within two weeks of exposure to an infected animal.

These symptoms can include fever, nausea, weakness and swollen lymph nodes.

View to Lake Tahoe, surrounded by forest, California, USA
Officials shut down several spots near Lake Tahoe to protect visitors.
Alamy Stock Photo
A view of Lake Tahoe in California.
A view of Lake Tahoe in California.
Alamy Stock Photo

Officials said that Taylor Creek Visitor Center, Kiva Beach and their parking areas will be off-limits through Friday while park authorities perform vector-control treatments.

People who are taking part in outdoor activities or live in the area have been urged to refrain from making contact with animals.

“Do not feed rodents in picnic or campground areas and never handle sick or dead rodents,” Dr. Bob Hartmann, the interim county public health officer for El Dorado County, said in a statement.

Chipmunk chews copy of the Lake of the Sky Journal left at the Tallac Historic Site in South Lake Tahoe
A chipmunk chews copy of the Lake of the Sky Journal near Lake Tahoe.
Alamy Stock Photo

With Post wires

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