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Another Yosemite Visitor May Have Plague

The Merced River in Yosemite National Park. Photo: Diana Robinson/Flickr

The Merced River in Yosemite National Park. Photo: Diana Robinson/Flickr

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is investigating a reported case of plague in a recent visitor to Yosemite National Park, according to a Tuesday press release from the department. It is the second reported case of plague affecting a Yosemite visitor this summer.

Earlier this season, a child visiting the park contracted the plague. The child has since recovered. Park officials continue to warn travelers against feeding or having contact with wildlife, which may increase their risk of contracting the disease.

Plague, which is typically found in squirrels, prairie dogs, and chipmunks, is most often transmitted by fleas that have had contact with a sick or dead rodent. Yosemite’s popular Tuolumne Meadows Campground was closed on Monday after squirrels in the area died of plague. (The CDPH said that all other campgrounds and facilities remain open, and that cases of human plague are rare.)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is conducting tests on the most recent sick visitor. The U.S. Forest Service has examined other parts of the park that the person visited.

Karen Smith, CDPH director and state health officer, credited the CDC’s efforts to alert the public about the risks of contracting the disease, which she believes may have helped the person seek treatment more quickly.


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