Yosemite campground to close after plague-infected squirrels found dead

By Marilyn Malara  |  Aug. 15, 2015 at 10:48 AM
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SACRAMENTO, Aug. 15 (UPI) -- A popular campground in Yosemite National Park is being closed after several squirrels were killed by the plague.

The news comes just days after officials reported a child developed the disease while camping at the park.

The dead squirrels were found in the Tuolumne Meadows Campground, about 40 miles from the area where the sick child camped with family, Los Angeles Times reports. Park officials will close the campground temporarily as an "extremely precautionary public health measure" to apply flea insecticide to burrows in an attempt to halt the disease's spread.

Plague is primarily carried by rodents and spread by fleas, and transmission between people is rare. Plague is treatable with antibiotics, but can result in illness death if not treated promptly. Symptoms can include fever, headache, chills and weakness.

The campground will be closed from Monday through Friday for treatment. All other campgrounds and facilities will remain open.

The campground where the child contracted the disease was also closed for four nights after the diagnosis, the California Department of Public Health said. The health department reports that although the plague was present, it still posed minimal risk to humans.

The child who fell ill from the plague is reportedly recovering.

Yosemite faces several issues this season, including the death of two young campers who were crushed by a fallen tree limb at their campsite early Friday morning. According to the U.S. Forest Service, about 12 million trees are being adversely affected by California's longtime drought, which could have been the cause of this fallen branch.

The cause of the accident is still being investigated by park authorities.

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