In a bit of a shock to residents of Riverside County, California, CNN reports that a squirrel recently tested positive for exposure to flees that carry bacteria that can lead to the plague.
This story comes on the tail of another in May where a squirrel in San Diego County made national news for also being diagnosed with exposure to the same bacteria carrying fleas. Don’t forget also that a 7-year-old caught Bubonic Plague from a dead squirrel’s fleas a month ago, with other cases reportedly being found throughout other areas in California despite no reported cases being on record in many areas in 2011.
While it’s true that modern antibiotics can be used to combat the plague if administered early California residents are still cautioned to remain away from squirrels and other wildlife if encountered and to not, by any means, pick them up and handle them as this can cause the plague-bearing fleas to transfer to you.
While the plague is not such a major concern today for many people and is considered more of a “medieval pestilence” it was still responsible for the deaths of an estimated 75 million people during the time period suffering from what is commonly referred to as The Black Death or Black Plague. As such be careful out there to not catch it yourself as the end result is far from pretty.