Actual Plague Hits California With Confirmed Case

Actual Plague Hits California With Confirmed Case


A case of the plague has been confirmed in South Lake Tahoe, California. According to the Los Angeles Times, this is the first plague case in California in five years.

On Monday, El Dorado County officials said that the California Department of Public Health notified them of a positive test of the plague. The resident who tested positive is under medical care and recovering at home.

How does one get the plague?

While the plague connotes those ancient times in which The Plague ravaged the globe, it’s actually still pretty common today. It’s just way less common for humans to contract it.

According to the LA Times, plague bacteria is often transmitted by fleas. These fleas contract the virus from infected squirrels, chipmunks, and sometimes even dogs and cats.

The South Lake Tahoe resident was likely bitten by a flea while on a walk with his dog near the Truckee River corridor or in the Tahoe Keys area.

The last plague victims in CA recovered

Fortunately, it sounds like the guy is going to be just fine. And the two people who contracted the plague in California in 2015 recovered beautifully.

Until now, no human cases were reported in the area. However, officials confirmed that about 20 ground squirrels or chipmunks around South Lake Tahoe had been exposed to the plague bacteria between 2016 and 2019.

“It’s important that individuals take precautions for themselves and their pets when outdoors, especially while walking, hiking and/or camping in areas where wild rodents are present,” said El Dorado County Public Health Officer, Dr. Nancy Williams. “Human cases of plague are extremely rare but can be very serious.”

The plague and its symptoms

If you live in an area like South Lake Tahoe were ground rodents are possibly infected with the plague, it’s good to be aware of what the plague really is, and how it manifests in your body.

The CDC describes the plague as a disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis.

The plague is infamous for killing millions of people in Europe during the Middle Ages. But today, modern antibiotics have no problem taking care of the disease. However, if infected folks don’t seek treatment right away, the disease can cause serious illness and death.

There are a few different types of plagues, and various symptoms for each:

Bubonic plague

  • Sudden onset of fever
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Weakness
  • One of more swollen, tender, painful lymph nodes

Septicemic plague

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Extreme weakness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Shock
  • Possible bleeding into skin, other organs
  • Skin, tissues turn black and die – mostly on fingers, toes, and nose

Pneumonic plague

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Rapidly developing pneumonia
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Occasionally bloody, watery mucous

The pneumonic plague is the most serious form of the disease. It is the only form of the plague that can be spread from human to human.