If you are planning a trip to the Table Mountain Campgrounds of Angeles National Forest you might want to cancel it. On July 16, a plague-infested squirrel was trapped and tested posted for the infection.
Plague is a lethal disease that is caused by the enterobacteria Yersinia pestis. This deadly disease is primarily carried by rodents such as squirrels and most notably rats. The disease can spread to humans from fleas. “Plague is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted to humans through the bites of infected fleas, which is why we close affected campgrounds and recreational areas as a precaution while preventive measures are taken to control the flea population,” L.A. County health officer Dr. Jonathan Fielding said this week. Up until June of 2007, plague was one of the three epidemic diseases specifically reportable to the World Health Organization (the other two being cholera and yellow fever).
It’s rare in 2013 to see a disease like this pop up. Nowadays, with an average of seven human cases a year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, it is curable via antibiotics but can still cause serious illness, or even death if untreated.
For more information on local rodent control in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware check out our Rodent Page.