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Some areas of South Lake Tahoe closed after chipmunks test positive for plague

South Lake Tahoe, California — Officials are closing some areas on the south shore of Lake Tahoe after some chipmunks tested positive for plague. 

 The Tahoe Daily Tribune reports that the Taylor Creek Visitor Center, Kiva Beach and their parking areas will be off limits through Friday.

During that time, the U.S. Forest Service will be conducting vector control treatments on those areas.

El Dorado County spokeswoman Carla Hass said the chipmunks that were tested had no contact with any people.

Forest Service officials expect the facilities to be open again by the weekend.

According to the El Dorado County Public Health, plague is naturally present in some areas of California.

"It's important that individuals take precautions for themselves and their pets when outdoors, especially while walking, hiking or camping in areas where wild rodents are present," the Daily Tribune quotes El Dorado County Public Health Officer Dr. Nancy Williams as saying in a news release a year ago when someone became the first person in five years in California to contract plague. "Human cases of plague are extremely rare but can be very serious," Williams continued.

Plague is an infectious bacterial disease that tends to be spread by chipmunks, other wild rodents and their fleas. For humans, symptoms can show up within two weeks of exposure to an infected animal. They include fever, nausea, weakness and swollen lymph nodes.

If caught early, it can be treated with antibiotics.

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