Plague-infected squirrel closes California campgrounds

By on July 26, 2013

A squirrel infected with plague bacteria has prompted the shutdown of several campgrounds in California’s Angeles National Forest.

Los Angeles County public health department officials confirmed Wednesday that a trapped ground squirrel tested positive for plague and closed four campgrounds as a precaution.

“Plague is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted to humans through the bites of infected fleas, which is why we close affected campgrounds and recreational areas as a precaution while preventive measures are taken to control the flea population,” said public health officer Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding.

Fielding added that the disease poses little threat to humans now, being very rare and easily treatable, a far cry from outbreaks like the Black Death, which killed between 75 and 200 million people in Europe in the 14th century.

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