Jan 21, 2019 | Updated: 04:07 PM EST

Second Plague Case In California Under Investigation

Aug 21, 2015 12:32 AM EDT


The California Department of Public Health announced on Tuesday (August 18) a second possible positive case of plague. The person suspected of having the disease is from Georgia and had spent time in California in early August.

The patient visited Yosemite and the Sierra National Forest before feeling sick. The Department of Public Health did not give other details, including the current medical condition and who the person is. It is unclear whether this person contracted the plague while in California.

The report suggests that two people recently in California have already the disease that used to kill millions centuries ago.  Despite all the advances of modern science and medicine, plague remains a real present-day problem.

Two people contracted the plague this year in Colorado in addition to the California cases. An adult in Pueblo county and a teenager in Larimer County both died of the disease.

Yosemite National Park shut down its Tuolumne Meadows Campground just before the news about the new plague cases. The park's campground is temporarily closed after local authorities determined that two dead squirrels had the plague. The campground will remain closed from Monday through Friday. Tuolumne Meadows Campground is one of the 13 around Yosemite. It is estimated that 4 million visitors come every year to visit Yosemite National, the third most visited U.S. national park.

Meanwhile, according to the park's officials, staff will treat the Tuolumne Meadows site with a chemical named deltamethrin, known to kill fleas that spread the plague.

The first to get the plague in Yosemite Park was a child after he visiting in mid-July the nearby Stanislaus National Forest. In that case, a deltamethrin-based insecticide was used on rodent burrows in order to prevent the spreading of the disease.

The bacterium responsible for the plague can infect the blood, causing the lips, nose, feet, and hands to become gangrenous and black. If not treated in time with antibiotics, this form of the disease is almost always fatal. Presently, that child is recovering from the plague. According to authorities, no other members of the camping staff have reported any related symptoms.

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