Plague present in rodents at Tahoe


SOUTH LAKE TAHOE – Based on positive plague tests and planned vector control treatments, the Taylor Creek Visitor Center, Kiva Beach and their respective South Lake Tahoe parking lots will be closed until Friday, August 6, officials said this weekend.

The positive tests were found in chipmunks with no human contact, El Dorado county spokeswoman Carla Hass said on Monday.

Tallac Historic Site’s picnic parking lot, Kiva, will remain open and visitor center staff and volunteers will be in the Tallac historic site. Forest Service officials said vector control will complete eradication treatments on Thursday and the areas will likely reopen before the weekend.

The plague is naturally present in many parts of California, including at higher elevations, according to El Dorado County Public Health, and advises caution about animals that can transmit it.

“It is important that individuals take precautions for themselves and their pets outdoors, especially when walking, hiking, or camping in areas where wild rodents live,” said health officer Dr. Nancy Williams in a press release last year as the person who fell ill with the plague in California for the first time in five years. “Human plague cases are extremely rare, but can be very serious.”

Plague is an infectious bacterial disease transmitted by squirrels, chipmunks, and other wild rodents and their fleas. People can become infected through close contact with infected animals or the bite of an infected flea.

Officials said the plague symptoms usually show up within two weeks of exposure to an infected animal or flea and include fever, nausea, weakness and swollen lymph nodes. If detected early, plague can be effectively treated with antibiotics.

The plague can be prevented by avoiding contact with rodents and their fleas, and by keeping pets away from rodents and their burrows.

For more information on the plague, see the CDPH website at