California Confirms First Case of Plague in Five Years

And 2020 continues to deliver the hits. Officials in South Lake Tahoe say a California resident has been diagnosed with a case of plague - the first case in the state in five years.

El Dorado County officials said Monday the California Department of Public Health informed them a local resident has tested positive for the plague and was currently recovering at home while under the care of a medical professional.

Officials believe the patient was bitten by an infected flea while walking a dog along the Truckee River corridor or in the Tahoe Keys area on the lake's south shore.

Plague is caused by the bacterium,Yersinia pestis and is often transmitted through fleas that have acquired the disease from an infected squirrel, chipmunk or other wild rodents.

"Plague is naturally present in many parts of California, including higher elevation areas of El Dorado County," said El Dorado County Public Health Officer, Dr. Nancy Williams. "It's important that individuals take precautions for themselves and their pets when outdoors, especially while walking, hiking and/or camping in areas where wild rodents are present.Human cases of plague are extremely rare but can be very serious."

Officials erected several signs to advise the public about the presence of plague and ways to prevent exposure in several areas of South Lake Tahoe.

The last cases of plague in California occurred in 2015 after two people were exposed to infected rodents or their fleas in Yosemite National Park. They both recovered.

Photo: Getty Images

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