Second Case of the Plague Found at Yosemite National Park


Yosemite National Park is just not having a good summer. Officials have found the second case of the plague.

After a child this month contracted the plague likely from within the park, public health officials have found a second case of the plague passing to a human. A camper from Georgia apparently contracted the disease during a trip to Yosemite or surrounding forests, according to the California Department of Health in a press release, which did not reveal the name or age of the patient. 

“The California Department of Public Health and Yosemite National Park were very proactive in their campaign to educate visitors about plague,” California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith said in a statement. “Warnings issued in California regarding plague were useful all the way across the country in Georgia. Those warnings helped the patient get the prompt medical attention necessary to recover from this illness.”

Following the first case, park officials searched and discovered the plague in several rodents. Park officials put flee bomb down several rodent holes around Tuolumne Meadows and Flate Crane campgrounds and closed Tuolumne Meadows for at least the next week. 

The disease, which led to the death of millions during the middle ages, is relatively harmless to humans now, but it still exists among squirrels, chipmunks and other rodents. The plague is typically passed in this way by flees. The public health bulletin offers the following tips for avoiding the plague while camping:

  • Steps the public can take to avoid exposure to human plague include:
  • Never feed squirrels, chipmunks or other rodents and never touch sick or dead rodents.
  • Avoid walking or camping near rodent burrows.
  • Wear long pants tucked into socks or boot tops to reduce exposure to fleas.
  • Spray insect repellent containing DEET on skin and clothing, especially socks and pant cuffs to reduce exposure to fleas.
  • Keep wild rodents out of homes, trailers, and outbuildings and away from pets

If you think you have the plague, early symptoms are similar to the flu, including pain in your lymph nodes. If you become ill after visiting the wilderness it’s best to notify your doctor immediately. And avoid the source like the plague.

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