A second possible case of plague by a recent visitor to Yosemite National Park is being investigated by the California Department of Public Health.
Health officials said a visitor from Georgia became ill after vacationing in Yosemite, the Sierra National Forest and surrounding areas early this month.
This is the second Yosemite visitor to contract plague this summer.
Health officials said the latest case is “presumptive positive” for plague, and testing is being done to confirm the disease. The patient was not identified.
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Plague has been confirmed in wild rodents over the past two weeks at Crane Flat and Tuolumne Meadows campgrounds in Yosemite. Squirrels, chipmunks and other rodents can carry the bacterial disease. When infected, rodents become sick and die, and their fleas can carry the infection to people and other animals.
Health officials said the risk to people remains low, and the campgrounds in Yosemite have been treated for fleas. Yosemite remains open to visitors and Crane Flat Campground is open, but Tuolumne Meadows Campground remains closed to visitors, the officials said.
Park visitors are being given information on how to remain safe. And the education allowed health providers in Georgia to make a diagnosis more quickly, they said.
Steps the public can take to avoid exposure to plague include:
▪ Never feed squirrels, chipmunks or other rodents and never touch sick or dead rodents.
▪ Avoid walking or camping near rodent burrows.
▪ 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.
Early symptoms of plague may include high fever and chills, nausea, weakness and swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpit and groin. People with those symptoms should seek immediate medical care and notify their health provider that they have been camping or out in the wilderness and have been exposed to rodents and fleas.