A squirrel in the Mountain Campgrounds of Angeles National Forest in California tested positive for the plague last week. Yeah, that plague.The bubonic one. The same one that took out a good portion of Europe a few centuries ago. It’s cool though, health officials are saying not to panic.
“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,” L.A. County health officer Dr. Jonathan Fielding said in a statement.
The squirrel, which was trapped on July 16 tested positive for the disease last week, which caused the Los Angeles Health Department to quarantine the park and issue a health advisory. Officials say that the plague is much more common than people think and that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention averages seven reports of the disease in humans per year. The main worry with the squirrels is that the plague would be transmitted via fleas to human beings. with symptoms including rapid onset of fever and chills and enlarged lymph glands near the bite. Untreated bubonic plague can progress to infection of the blood or lungs, causing pneumonic plague. All forms of the plague can be fatal if left untreated.