Child develops plague after camping at Yosemite National Park

Child develops plague after camping at Yosemite
Photo Courtesy: UPI

SACRAMENTO, Aug. 7 (UPI) — California health experts launched an investigation when a child developed the plague after camping at Yosemite National Park, one of three cases of the potentially deadly disease so far this year.

The child, who was not identified but lives in Los Angeles County, camped at or visited Stanislaus National Forest, Yosemite National Park and surrounding areas in mid-July, prompting the California Department of Public Health to conduct environmental evaluations on the area. The child is recovering and no one else who was with the child has developed symptoms, officials said.

The announcement comes two days after an adult in Colorado died as a result of the disease. It was the second in the state this year.

Plague, an infectious bacterial disease, is carried by squirrels, chipmunks and other wild rodents and their fleas. When an infected rodent becomes sick and dies, its fleas can carry the infection to other warm-blooded animals or humans. There are three types of plague: bubonic, septicemic and pneumonic. It is not transmitted human to human unless a patient with the disease also has a lung infection and is coughing.

Dr. Karen Smith, California Department of Public Health director, said precautions must be taken around wild rodents to avoid developing the disease.

“Human cases of plague are rare, with the last reported human infection in California occurring in 2006,” she said. “Although this is a rare disease, people should protect themselves from infection by avoiding any contact with wild rodents.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the United States has about seven cases of plague a year, most which are bubonic.


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