SOUTH LAKE TAHOE (CBS13) — Amidst all the concerns of the coronavirus pandemic, signs are now up in parts of Lake Tahoe warning people about catching the bubonic plague.
A giant “closed” sign now covers up the entrance to the Lake Tahoe visitor center at Taylor Creek. It’s one of dozens in the Kiva Beach area reading “plague warning,” “plague mitigation,” and “closed due to bubonic plague in the area.”
Road blocks are preventing visitors from parking in the area.
Jeff Morales has lived in Lake Tahoe for three decades and says he’s never seen this type of plague prevention.
“You know what, this is 100 percent different than a normal day,” Morales said. “It’s a big buzz word and it’s scary, and stuff but you know we do see it, living in Tahoe you see it. You see squirrels, they have plague, and it comes up from time to time.”
The California Department of Public Health confirmed rodents in this area are carrying fleas infected with the plague. They also determined this is where a woman walking her dog, likely contracted the plague in August.
The U.S. Forest Service closed the area to apply insecticide in an effort to kill the infected fleas.
“So 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,” U.S. Forest Service Spokesperson Lisa Herron said.
This mecca for nature lovers, a scenic spot known around the world for its beauty. The warning signs are up to beware.
The El Dorado County Department of Public Health says the woman who contracted the plague last month did respond to antibiotics and she was discharged from the hospital. On average there are only seven reported plague cases a year in the U.S., according to the CDC.