A second Yosemite visitor has the plague. Health officials announced Tuesday that a second person in as many months was diagnosed with the plague after visiting Yosemite National Park. The unidentified person visited both Georgia and California in early August and toured the Sierra National Forest and Yosemite.
In July, a Los Angeles County child reportedly contracted the plague after a visit to Yosemite. The now recovering child was the first case of the disease at the national park since 2006, according to health officials.
The Bubonic Plague is commonly carried by small rodents such as squirrels and chipmunks – and their fleas. On Monday 300 campsites at the Tuolune Meadows grounds at the Yosemite National Park were closed by order of the local health department.
Symptoms of the plague reportedly include fever, weakness, gangrene, chills, muscle cramps, seizures, and discomfort and swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin, armpit, and neck.
“Although the presence of plague has been confirmed in wild rodents over the past two weeks at Crane Flat and Tuolumne Meadows campgrounds in Yosemite, the risk to human health remains low,” health officials said. “Action to protect human and wildlife health by closing and treating campgrounds was taken out of an abundance of caution.”
The second Yosemite plague victim is reportedly undergoing tests by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention medical staff. U.S. Forest Service, national park, and state health officials are working together in an attempt to determine exactly where the Bubonic plague victim became infected.
“Warnings issued in California regarding plague were useful all the way across the country in Georgia,” state Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith said. “Those warnings helped the patient get the prompt medical attention necessary to recover from this illness.”
Both health and park officials have warned that people should never feed wild squirrels or other small rodents and avoid setting up camp near burrows.
Cases of the plague are extremely rare in the United States. According to CDC statistics, approximately seven cases per year are detected. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, a Colorado 16-year-old boy died from plague in June. The young man contracted a difficult to treat septicemic infection while suffering from the plague. Two other Colorado residents who also fell ill with the plague were treated and recovered. A dog belonging to one of the patients is believed to have been the carrier of the potentially deadly disease.
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