Another Yosemite Campground Closed After Squirrels Die Of Plague

The plague has struck again in California’s Yosemite National Park, forcing officials to close their second campground in less than two weeks. Health authorities are now working to stamp out the disease after a number of squirrels were found dead.

A child went camping in Stanislaus National Forest and Crane Flats campground in Yosemite in mid-July with his family according to the Los Angeles Times. He contracted the plague leading to an investigation.

Yosemite Park confirmed it was present in Crane Flats, which they then closed and sprayed with insecticide. Plague is well-known for being carried by rodents, including squirrels and chipmunks. When those animals die from the illness, fleas will carry it to their new hosts, like humans.

Crane Flats reopened on August 14 after a four-day closure for the insecticide treatment.

Despite the efforts from health officials, they announced on Friday that the plague had reappeared roughly 40 miles away in Tuolumne Meadows Campground. According to Reuters, two dead, infected squirrels were discovered there.

Tuolumne will be closed starting Monday, and is expected to stay closed until Friday.

Despite the two occurrences, authorities insist that the risk to humans is low. Karen Smith, director of the California Department of Public Health, released a statement saying campers should still be vigilant.

“Although this is a rare disease, and the current risk to humans is low, eliminating the fleas is the best way to protect the public from the disease.”

Health authorities released a set of guidelines for campers to stay safe in Yosemite. They advise tourists to avoid setting up camp or walking near rodent burrows, to use bug repellents with the chemical diethyltoluamide, commonly known as DEET, and to wear long pants tucked into hiking boots.

Early symptoms of the plague are similar to the common flu — high fever, nausea, headaches, chills, weakness, and swollen lymph node glands around the neck, armpit, or groin.

Although cases of the plague are rare, it is regularly found in animals throughout the state. In California, there have been 42 human cases of plague since 1970, including nine fatalities.

The young camper has fully recovered from the disease, but Yosemite has other dangers to worry about.

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, two minors were killed in Yosemite’s Upper Pines campground after a tree branch broke off from a black oak tree and landed on their tent. Officials acknowledged that falling branches are not uncommon, and the two minors were not the first deaths from the problem.

[Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images]