Most people think of squirrels as cute and harmless wildlife critters that eat nuts and nest in trees. While this might be true in most cases, sometimes squirrels can be vectors for disease. Such is the case at both the Marion Mountain Campground and the Dark Canyon Campground in San Jacinto, California, where some of the squirrels have tested positive for bubonic plague.
Spread by Fleas
The plague, which was the Middle Ages disease that ravished Europe, is carried by fleas. Infected fleas bite animals or humans, thus spreading the disease. Although plague is easily cured by modern antibiotics, if left untreated it can cause serious complications including death.
No Known East Coast Carriers
On the east coast there are no known reports of plague-infected squirrels. However, as we know from squirrels at the two campgrounds cited above, they can become infected with plague and potentially become a health hazard, especially if they begin to nest in or on your house, home or apartment complex.
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