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Published On: Sat, Oct 27th, 2012

Lake Tahoe: Two more chipmunks test positive for plague, health officials say it’s not unexpected

In a follow-up to a story from the beginning of October, two more chipmunks have tested positive for plague in the Tahoe area, according to the the El Dorado County Department of Environmental Health.

Credits: Public domain photo/Loren36 via Wikimedia commons

The Sacramento Bee reports, Dr. Robert Hartmann, interim El Dorado County health officer, said in a news release the positive results are not unexpected, but do warrant precautions and notification to the public. Plague is naturally present in the mountains and foothills of California, and follow-up tests will be conducted in early spring, Hartmann said.

Officials note that 41 rodents were tested as a precaution, thanks to the positive test of the earlier chipmunk. The earlier chipmunk was found at the U.S. Forest Service Visitor Center in the Taylor Creek area.

One rodent was found in the Tallac Historic Site area and one was near the U.S. Forest Service Taylor Creek Visitor Center.

The Forest Service recommends people not to camp, sit or sleep on the ground next to rodent burrows or feed rodents in campgrounds and picnic areas. Food and garbage should be stored in rodent–proof containers. In addition, it is recommended that you wear long pants tucked into boots and use insect repellent like DEET to avoid flea exposure.

Pets should be confined, kept on a leash or left at home if possible, according to the statement. Pets should not be allowed to approach sick or dead rodents or explore rodent burrows and should be protected with flea control products.

Early symptoms of the plague include high fever, chills, nausea, weakness and swollen lymph nodes. The plague is curable in its early stages by antibiotics, but it may be deadly if left untreated.

To report a sick or dead rodent, contact El Dorado County Vector Control at            (530) 573-3197      .  For more information on plague in California, visit the following website: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/healthinfo/discond/Pages/Plague.aspx

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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