"Health Officials Warn of Elevated Plague Risk in Lake Tahoe Basin"

"El Dorado County environmental health officials are urging residents and visitors to take precautions after a chipmunk found in the Lake Tahoe Basin last week tested presumptive positive for the bacteria that causes the plague."

"The test results for the chipmunk found at the U.S. Forest Service's Taylor Creek Visitor Center led Dr. Bob Hartman, the county's interim public health officer, to warn that the Taylor Creek Recreation Area may have an elevated plague risk. Fall visitors to area picnic spots and campgrounds, as well as area residents, are advised to take measures to protect themselves from the disease, which is transmitted by infected fleas.

'Individuals can greatly reduce their risk of becoming infected with plague by taking simple precautions, including avoiding contact with wild rodents and their fleas,' Hartman said in a written statement. 'Do not feed rodents in picnic or campground areas and never handle sick or dead rodents. Also, leave your pets at home when visiting areas with elevated plague risk.'"

Cathy Locke reports for the Sacramento Bee October 10, 2012.

Source: Sacramento Bee, 10/11/2012