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Plague Found in Animals in California's Mountain Regions

California health officials are alerting people to protect themselves from plague after animals in Northern and Southern California tested positive for bacteria that cause the disease.

El Dorado County officials say there may be elevated plague risk in the South Lake Tahoe area after a chipmunk was found positive at the Taylor Creek Visitor Center.

Dr. Vicki Kramer of the California Department of Public Health says the finding isn’t cause for alarm, but it’s a reminder to take precautions.

“In particular not to handle sick or dead rodents, that’s very important. Not to disturb burrows or come into contact in any way with rodents.”

Riverside County officials say a squirrel in the San Jacinto Mountains recently tested positive for exposure to infected fleas, the first such finding in almost 10 years.

Kramer says plague occurrence statewide has not been high for several years. The last human case of plague in California was in 2006.