Bubonic plague alert: Killer disease detected in the US – warning issued

A spokesperson for the El Dorado Vector Control, Carla Hass, said a chipmunk carcass was collected from a Lake Tahoe visitor centre on July 18. Laboratory samples have confirmed that a chipmunk in Lake Tahoe California have The discovery forced the closure of the Taylor Creek Visitor Centre and Kiva Beach near Lake Tahoe.

Ms Hass said: “On the county’s recommendation, the Forest Service enacted the closures, effective through Friday.”

The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit of the US Forest Service gave a warning that said: “We all need to be cautious around animals that can carry it.”

The bubonic plague was a highly infectious pathogen that was responsible for killing millions of people in Europe and Asia during the Middle Ages, during a pandemic know as the Black Death.

Authorities have said that it us not unusual to find bubonic plague bacteria in rodents of California.

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They said the disease is not uncommon amongst rodents in the higher-elevation mountainous areas of El Dorado County, California.

It is the fleas that live on the rodents fur that are infected with the disease.

US authorities have advised the use of insecticide sprays to kill the fleas.

A spokesperson for the Forest Service at Lake Tahoe, Lisa Herron, said that people who visit areas where active plague has been found should stay on trails and keep their pets away from rodents.


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She added, “If you must bring your pet, keep them on short leash.

“Also, do not let them investigate rodent burrows.”

Early symptoms of infection with bubonic plague include high fever, chills, nausea, weakness and swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpit or groin.

These swollen lymph nodes can break open to present as black sores on the skin, known as “buboes”.

Without treatment the bubonic plague results in the death of 30 percent to 90 percent of those infected.

However, with treatment, the risk of death is around 10 percent.

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