South Tahoe recreation areas reopened after plague treatment

The road to Taylor Creek Visitor Center was closed for several days while officials mitigated plague threats in the area.
Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — It took a couple days longer than anticipated, but Taylor Creek Visitor Center and Kiva Beach reopened on Tuesday after the areas were treated for plague infested fleas.

Visitors to the beach and visitor center were ushered out of the area on Sunday, July 31, as a precaution due to positive plague tests on chipmunks that had no human contact, said El Dorado County spokesperson Carla Hass.

The areas were closed throughout the week and weekend as El Dorado County Vector Control performed eradication treatments.

According to El Dorado County Public Health, plague is naturally present in many parts of California, including higher elevations, and advises to be cautious around animals that can carry it.

“It’s important that individuals take precautions for themselves and their pets when outdoors, especially while walking, hiking or camping in areas where wild rodents are present,” said Public Health Officer Dr. Nancy Williams in a 2020 press release last year when a South Tahoe resident was the first in five years in California to contract plague. “Human cases of plague are extremely rare but can be very serious.”

Plague is an infectious bacterial disease that is spread by squirrels, chipmunks and other wild rodents and their fleas. People can become infected through close contact with infected animals or the bite of an infected flea.

Officials say symptoms of plague usually show up within two weeks of exposure to an infected animal or flea and include fever, nausea, weakness and swollen lymph nodes.

“Plague can be effectively treated with antibiotics if detected early,” said USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit Spokesperson Lisa Herron.

Plague can be prevented by avoiding contact with these rodents and their fleas, and by keeping pets away from rodents and their burrows. Human cases of plague are rare.

The Tahoe Daily Tribune is a sister publication of the Sierra Sun

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