Monday, November 5, 2012

Chipmunks in the Tahoe area test positive for plague

County officials are still finding area chipmunks that test positive for plague. The most recent findings were found in a chipmunk from the Tallac Historic Site and the other was from a chipmunk found at the Taylor Creek Visitor Center.
These two positive findings were the result of 41 rodents that were tested. Warning signs will continue to be posted in these areas. More testing will be done in the spring. For now, the coming snow and fewer campers mean the risk of transmission is significantly reduced.

Plague is an infectious bacterial disease that is spread by squirrels, chipmunks and other wild rodents and their fleas. Fleas are less active in the winter months.
People can become infected through close contact with infected animals or infected fleas.  El Dorado County Health Services recommends you keep pets away from wild rodents and their burrows.
Cases of human plague are rare and can be treated effectively with antibiotics if detected early.  Symptoms of plague typically occur within two weeks of exposure.  Symptoms include fever, nausea, weakness and swollen lymph nodes.

Plague prevention tips:

·         Don’t feed rodents.

·         Don’t touch dead or sick rodents.

·         Stay away from animal burrows.

·         Leave pets home or keep them on a leash and use flea control products.

·         Cats also pose a risk to humans if they have been around rodents.

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