Bubonic plague warning issued in Lake Tahoe


SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KOVR) - You don’t hear about it much, but bubonic plague never completely went away. It resurfaces from time to time.

Officials in South Lake Tahoe are warning residents it has cropped up in the area.

A giant closed sign now covers up the entrance to the Lake Tahoe Visitor Center.

It’s one of dozens in the Kiva Beach area posted everywhere reading “plague warning,” “plague mitigation” and “closed due to bubonic plague in the area.”

Roadblocks are preventing visitors from parking here.

Jeff Morales has lived in Lake Tahoe for three decades, and he’s never seen this type of plague prevention.

“It’s a big buzzword, and it’s scary and stuff, but you know we do see it,” he said. “Living in Tahoe, you see it. You do see squirrels, they have plague, and it comes up from time to time.”

The California Department of Public Health confirmed rodents in the area are carrying fleas infected with the plague.

They determined a woman walking her dog likely contracted the plague in August.

The U.S. Forest Service closed the area to apply insecticide to kill the infected fleas.

“People should be on the lookout for unusual things like a rodent acting unusual, or a rodent that is dead with no visual signs of trauma,” said Lisa Herron, U.S. Forest Service.

The favorite for nature lovers, a scenic spot known around the world for its beauty, now has warning signs up to beware.

“Man, that’s just another thing that we’re dealing with,” said one resident.

The El Dorado County Department of Public Health says the woman who contracted the plague responded well to antibiotics and she was discharged from the hospital. Meantime, according to the CDC, across the United States, only seven people a year are reported to come down with the plague.

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