Girl Catches the Plague at Popular Family Vacation Spot

A family trip to Yosemite National Park turned into a nightmare when a girl became sick with the plague, experts suspect. The plague! This comes after two people in Colorado, including a 16-year-old boy, have died from the disease. Should parents worry?

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Health officials say no (um, okay ...), the ancient disease is extremely rare and can be treated with antibiotics. But wouldn't we all love to avoid exposing our kids to the plague regardless? How on earth do you pick it up in the wild?

Well, one way is by feeding the chipmunks. Humans can contract the plague from rodents -- that seems to be the most common means of transmission. So experts are warning everyone not to feed or come near any of the cute, furry creatures you meet in the forest. And don't let your curious little scientists-in-training get close to dead animals. And don't even let your pets come near rodents and other small, wild creatures.

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Here's a few other things you should know about the plague.

  1. There are three different kinds: bubonic, septicemic, and pneumonic. The last of these can be transmitted person to person.
  2. Early symptoms are similar to the flu: sudden fever, severe headache, nausea, and chills.
  3. The plague is fatal if not treated. It's bacterial, so it can be treated with antibiotics if caught early.
  4. About seven cases of the plague a year are reported in the U.S.
  5. Again, the best ways to avoid the plague is by avoiding wild rodents:

"Never feed squirrels, chipmunks, or other rodents in picnic or campground areas, and never touch sick or dead rodents. Protect your pets from fleas and keep them away from wild animals," California state health officer Dr. Karen Smith said in a statement about the state's investigation of the human plague case.

Fortunately the young girl who caught the plague is recovering. We hope she and her whole family will soon be in full health. How terrifying, though. 

 

Image via npine/shutterstock 

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