SOUTH LAKE TAHOE (CBS13) – Officials are warning people visiting South Lake Tahoe of a possible health risk.

The California Department of Health says a chipmunk in the Taylor Creek Recreation Area tested positive for the bacteria that causes plague.

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They’re warning visitors to stay away from rodents and keep pets out of the area.

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“Individuals can greatly reduce their risk of becoming infected with plague by taking simple precautions, including avoiding contact with wild rodents and their fleas,” Hartmann said. “Do not feed rodents in picnic or campground areas and never handle sick or dead rodents. Also, leave your pets at home when visiting areas with elevated plague risk.”

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Plague is a rare yet highly infectious bacterial disease that is spread by squirrels, chipmunks and other wild rodents and their fleas. People may be exposed to plague through an infected flea bite, handling an infected rodent, or exposure to an infected pet (especially a sick cat).