On August 17, 2020, our neighboring county reported that a resident in South Lake Tahoe tested positive for plague. We are encouraging visitors and residents of the Tahoe Basin area to be aware of the potential risk of rodent-borne disease and protect themselves.
What is plague?
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. It is also important to avoid dead rodents as infected fleas may be jumping off the dead animals and seeking new hosts nearby.
How to Protect Yourself from Plague
- Avoid camping, sleeping or resting near rodent burrows.
- Avoid contact with wild rodents like ground squirrels, chipmunks, woodrats, mice and marmots and their fleas.
- Do not feed wild rodents in picnic or campground areas.
- Do not handle sick or dead rodents.
- Wear long pants tucked into boot tops to reduce exposure to fleas.
- Apply insect repellent containing DEET on socks and trouser cuffs.
- Keep wild rodents out of homes, trailers and outbuildings.
- Report any sick or dead animals to forest, campground or local health officials.
- For protection of pets, keep pets leashed and away from dead rodents. If a pet becomes sick after visiting a high-risk area, take the pet to a veterinary clinic and inform them that the pet has been in an area where rodents have plague.
Symptoms of Plague
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. Plague is curable in its early stages but may be fatal if not treated early.
For more information, please visit the California Department of Public Health’s website: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Plague.aspx