What is it with California these days? First the Measles at Disneyland and now The Plague at Yosemite? Goodness gracious, hold off from planning a trip out west any time soon.
After visiting Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park, a child from Los Angeles county contracted The Plague — though it is unknown how the illness was caught. Officials from Yosemite, the Forest Service, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are looking into the incident and will be conducting an evaluation to see what caused the child to get sick.
Though mostly associated with The Middle Ages, The Plague is still around today, though it is most commonly seen in rodents such as rats and squirrels. Humans can and have been infected as a result of coming into contact with rodents or as a result of household pets coming into contact with rodents carrying the disease. There have been 42 cases of The Plague since 1970 in California, with the most recent outbreak being in 2006.
When speaking to The Los Angeles Times, Public Health Director and State Health Officer Karen Smith, said, “Although this is a rare disease, people should protect themselves from infection by avoiding any contact with wild rodents…Never feed squirrels, chipmunks, or other rodents in picnic or campground areas, and never touch sick or dead rodents. Protect your pets from fleas and keep them away from wild animals.” It should be noted that the disease, if left untreated, can be fatal.
As for right now, the child is being treated and Yosemite employees have been warned of the symptoms, which include fever, swollen lymph nodes, and nausea, and are under strict orders to seek medical care if any campers show signs of The Plague.
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