Plague Infested Ground Squirrel Found in California

As the excellent blog Red Alerts points out as the economy gets worse more an more people will be trying their hand at small game. In California squirrel hunters may get more than they bargain for:

A ground squirrel found in the Cedar Grove Campground on Palomar Mountain has tested positive for plague, San Diego County health officials announced Thursday.

Officials found the infected animal during routine monitoring, county environmental health officials said. Humans can catch the often-fatal disease if they are bitten by infected fleas.

On Wednesday there were no reports of humans catching plague in San Diego County, officials said.

Officials said it’s not unusual to find plague in local mountains during the summer. People should look for warning signs posted in areas where plague has been found.

People visiting the wilderness in mountain should avoid contact with wild animals, especially if they’re sick or dead, avoid camping by animal burrows, and treat pets for fleas or leave them at home.

Anyone who has a sudden fever, chills, or tender, swollen lymph nodes within a week of visiting a known plague area should see a doctor immediately, officials advised.

Be careful out there.

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