The 304 sites at Tuolumne Meadows Campground in Yosemite National Park will be closed next week Monday through Friday after authorities confirmed they found the bodies of two plague-infected squirrels.
The popular campground, located at 8,600 feet along Highway 120 in Yosemite’s high country, will be treated with an insecticide to kill insects that carry the bacterial disease and infect squirrels and other rodents.
It is the second campground closure related to plague this summer. A little more than a week ago, Crane Flat Campground was closed and treated after a Southern California child was diagnosed with the disease – the first in California since 2006.
The child had been camping at Crane Flat, which is about 40 miles west of Tuolumne Meadows along Highway 120. The insecticide deltamethrin was applied to rodent burrows in the area. Crane Flat Campground has been reopened, officials said.
The chemical poses little risk to humans and animals, authorities said.
“We are treating these areas out of an abundance of caution,” said Danielle Buttke, a federal public health service officer who was called into Yosemite from Colorado.
Visitors are advised to wear insect repellant and long pants tucked into socks or boots to reduce exposure to fleas. Hikers and campers are advised to avoid rodent burrows.
Plague is treatable in its early stages with prompt diagnosis and proper antibiotic treatment. But the disease can be fatal if untreated.