Child hospitalised with plague after camping trip to Yosemite National Park in California

The child is believed to have caught the disease from the fleas of infected rodents

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The Independent US

Authorities in California are investigating a case of human plague, after a child was infected with the disease while camping in Yosemite National Park.

The California Department of Public Health is looking into the case, and were quick to stress that transmission of the disease between humans is very rare. The last case of such a transmission in California occurred in 1924.

The investigation began after the child from Los Angeles County was hospitalised.

No other members of the camping party reported symptoms, but authorities are still monitoring the health of the child's family and the health professionals taking care of them. The child, fortunately, is recovering.

 

Plague is a bacterial disease that can be carried by squirrels, chipmunks, and other wild rodents and their fleas.

When a rodent infected with plague dies, its fleas can carry the infection to other warm-blooded animals, like humans.

The symptoms in humans can include fever, chills, nausea and swollen lymph nodes.

In its early stages, the disease is treatable with antibiotics. However, it can be fatal, and nine of the 42 people who have contracted plague in California since 1970 have died from it.

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Yosemite National Park is a popular camping destination, but authorities are warning campers to take care around rodents

In Colorado, two people have died from plague this year, with Pueblo County authorities announcing on 5 August that a resident had died from the diesase.

On average, around seven cases of plague are reported in the USA each year, although Colorado had eight on its own last year.

The Department of Health advised the public not to feed rodents, never to touch sick or dead rodents, and to avoid rodent burrows.

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