A girl from Los Angeles has contracted the plague after a recent trip to Yosemite National Park.
Officials from the Los Angeles County Health Department, Yosemite Forest Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are conducting an environmental evaluation of where the girl, whose identity is being kept anonymous, was staying in Yosemite to determine the cause of the disease.
The girl is recovering after falling ill following a family trip to Yosemite in mid-July. No other family members reported any symptoms. Officials are examining the her travel history and activities before becoming sick.
While the plague, famous for devastating Europe’s population centuries ago, hasn’t been reported in California since 2006, an average of seven cases are reported in the U.S. per year. Two recent deaths have been reported in Colorado: On Tuesday a man died after contracting the plague and, in June, a 16-year-old boy also passed away from the disease.
“Although this is a rare disease, people should protect themselves from infection by avoiding any contact with wild rodents,” said Dr. Karen Smith, director of California’s Department of Public Health, in a statement. “Although this is a rare disease, people should protect themselves from infection by avoiding any contact with wild rodents.”
As noted by Dr. Smith, the plague is often spread by dead rodents and the fleas that feed off of them.
At Yosemite, park officials say they will keep an eye out for any visitors suffering from swollen lymph nodes, fevers or chills, as well as providing extra information for visitors on the dangers of feeding wild animals.
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