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Risk of Rodent-Borne Disease

Due to increased plague activity in the Tahoe Basin area last fall, public health officials advise caution this summer. Residents and visitors alike are being asked to be aware of the potential risk of rodent-borne disease. Rodent populations are routinely monitored for plague activity in California. Last September and October, chipmunks and squirrels in Nevada, Placer, and El Dorado counties tested positive for the disease. Joel Buettner, general manager of the Placer Mosquito and Vector Control District says there are some common sense things you can do to avoid the plague.

            Click to hear Buettner 

 Also, leave your pets at home when visiting areas with elevated plague risk,” he advised.

Plague is a rare, yet highly infectious, and potentially deadly disease. People may be exposed to plague through the bite of an infected flea, handling an infected rodent, or exposure to an infected pet (especially a sick cat). It is also important to avoid dead rodents, as infected fleas may be jumping off the dead animals and seeking new hosts nearby.

chip munk


Early symptoms of plague include high fever, chills, nausea, weakness and swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpit or groin. Individuals who develop these symptoms within two weeks of possible exposure should seek immediate medical attention and inform their health care provider that they have been in a plague-endemic area. Plague is curable in its early stages, but may be fatal if not treated early.

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