WRIGHTWOOD, Calif. (KTLA) — Several campgrounds near Wrightwood were closed by health officials on Wednesday after a ground squirrel tested positive for plague.
The squirrel was trapped on July 16 during routine surveillance activities and later tested positive for plague, according to a new release from the L.A. County Department of Public Health.
Broken Blade, Twisted Arrow, and Pima Loops of the Table Mountain Campgrounds in the Angeles National Forest were officially closed at 1 p.m. Wednesday.
They were expected to remain closed for at least seven days, officials said.
Campers were notified about the closures by Forest Service officials.
Squirrel burrows in the area will be dusted for fleas, and further testing will be done before the area is re-opened to the public, officials said.
“Plague is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted to humans through the bites of infected fleas, which is why we close affected campgrounds and recreational areas as a precaution while preventive measures are taken to control the flea population,” Director of Public Health Jonathan E. Fielding said.
Transmission of plague through flea bites causes bubonic plague.
Symptoms include enlargement of lymph glands (buboes) near the flea bite and rapid onset of fever and chills.
Untreated, bubonic plague can progress to infection of the blood, or rarely, the lungs, causing pneumonic plague.
All forms of the disease can be fatal if not treated; however, most patients respond well to antibiotic therapy, officials said.
There have only been four cases of human plague in Los Angeles County since 1984, none of which were fatal, Fielding said.