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Plague Fear Closes California State Campgrounds

August 19, 2010 by   - () Leave a Comment

The campgrounds at Plumas-Eureka State Park were closed by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Wednesday (Aug. 18) over elevated fears of a possible plague outbreak, according to the state parks department.

The decision to close the campgrounds came following a sampling of the park conducted after the discovery of a plague-positive dead rodent earlier this month, California State Parks spokesman John Arnold told KXTV, Sacramento.

The closure was in effect until further notice, however, park officials were hopeful the campgrounds would be reopened before the Labor Day weekend holiday beginning Sept. 4.

Bubonic plague is a highly infectious bacterial disease usually found in rodents, such as squirrels or chipmunks. Risk levels are elevated in densely-concentrated rodent populations, leaving humans and their pets possibly susceptible to the disease, which can be fatal if untreated.

Arnold said that plague outbreaks at Plumas-Eureka State Park have occurred in the past, including one case of human transmission in the 1970s. The park campground was closed due to plague outbreaks in 1992 and 1993 based on CDPH recommendations.

An average of 10 to 15 persons contract the plague each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Modern antibiotics are usually an effective treatment.

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