Calif. squirrel tests positive for plague exposure

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RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) – Authorities say a squirrel at a Southern California campground has tested positive for exposure to fleas infected with the bacteria that can cause plague.Riverside County officials said Tuesday the discovery at the Fern Basin campground north of Idyllwild marks the first time in nearly a decade that a ground squirrel found in the San Jacinto Mountains has tested positive.

Officials says the risk of transmitting the bacteria to humans is minimal if people take proper precautions. They recommend people avoid contact with squirrels and other wild animals and not camp near animal burrows. People who become ill with such symptoms as fever, chills and tender swollen lymph nodes should see a doctor immediately.

Meanwhile, authorities say they plan to test other animals in the area later this month.

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