Child contracts plague from camping in Yosemite National Park
photography by Thomas J. Story

Since 2006, there have been no reported cases of the plague in California, until now.

In July, a Los Angeles County family was camping in Yosemite National Park when the child became seriously ill afterward, prompting hospitalization. Tests have confirmed the child has the plague.

Even though the plague is rarely discovered in humans these days, the California Department of Public Health states that it is found “each year among squirrels, chipmunks, and other rodents in California and the southwestern U.S. People can be infected with plague bacteria if they are bitten by a flea from an infected rodent or have close contact with an infected animal.”

The plague can be treated (and cured!) with antibiotics if it’s caught early, but campers should still be careful to avoid wild rodents and their fleas.

For more information about this sad incident, you can read more in the SF Chronicle. While we’re waiting on good news, though, we’re sending our thoughts and wishes to this family and their kid.