Health & Safety

August 2, 2013

HEALTH ADVISORY: Closures posted for local campgrounds due to plague found in ground squirrel

campground
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and U.S. Forestry Service officials have closed the Broken Blade, Twisted Arrow and Pima Loops of the Table Mountain Campgrounds in the Angeles National Forest after tests confirmed that one ground squirrel trapped July 16, 2013, during routine surveillance activities tested positive on July 23, 2013, for plague.

†The sites were officially closed at 1 p.m. July 24, and will be closed for at least†seven days. Campers at the site have been notified of the closure by Forest Service officials.

The campgrounds and recreational areas are located near Wrightwood. In coordination with the Los Angeles County Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures, the squirrel burrows in the area will be dusted for fleas. Further testing of squirrels will be done before the area is re-opened to the public.

“Plague is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted to humans through the bites of infected fleas, which is why we close affected campgrounds and recreational areas as a precaution while preventive measures are taken to control the flea population,” said Jonathan E. Fielding, M.D., M.P.H., Director of Public Health and Health Officer. “It is important for the public to know that there have only been four cases of human plague in Los Angeles County residents since 1984, none of which were fatal.”

Plague has been known to reside in the ground squirrels population in the San Gabriel Mountains.
Previous routine surveillance identified one plague-positive ground squirrel in 2010 from the Los Alamos campgrounds in Gorman; one in 2007 and two in 1996 from the Stoneyvale Picnic Area near La Ca’ada/Flintridge; and one plague- positive ground squirrel from an adjacent campground in Vogel Flats in 1995.

Transmission of plague through flea bites causes bubonic plague, with symptoms including enlargement of lymph glands (buboes) near the flea bite and rapid onset of fever and chills. Untreated bubonic plague can progress to infection of the blood, or rarely, the lungs, causing pneumonic plague. All forms of the disease can be fatal if not treated; however, most patients respond well to antibiotic therapy.

Individuals visiting recreational areas near the Broken Blade, Twisted Arrow and Pima Loops of the Table Mountain Campgrounds need to take certain precautions to avoid contact with wild animals that could be carrying plague- positive fleas. Visitors to recreational areas should not feed wild animals, not leave edible trash out where wild animals can get to it, avoid camping or picnicking in the immediate vicinity of ground squirrel burrows, and should avoid taking pets into areas where they could be exposed to fleas. If you must take your pet into areas with fleas, please ensure your pet has appropriate flea control and vaccinations, as recommended by a veterinarian.

“Protection with an insect repellant containing DEET is also recommended for persons visiting the Angeles National Forest and engaging in outside recreational activities in other areas of LA County,” said Dr. Fielding. Insect repellant can help protect people against fleas, mosquitoes, and ticks.
Products containing DEET are not safe for use on pets.”

Members of the public who see dead ground squirrels in recreational areas, or who want more information about precautions should contact the LA County Department of Public Health, Vector Management Program at (626) 430-5450.

Editor’s note: Information provided by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and U.S. Forestry Service.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by Brad White

Winter fire safety tips

Air Force photograph by Brad White The aftermath of a resident fire in the Edwards AFB housing area last month. Recently, Edwards AFB encountered a fire in the housing area that could have been devastating to all involved. The ...
 
 
smoke-out

2014 Great American Smokeout Nov. 20

Join Edwards AFB and the American Cancer Society in observing the Great American Smokeout Nov. 20. All employees are invited to join in this observance, by setting a quit day, or by supporting your colleagues on this day. Sta...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber

Guest speaker motivates at ‘DREAM’ team luncheon

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber Eric Lipp, founder and executive director of the Open Doors Organization, shared his story at the Edwards AFB Disability Rights Employment Awareness Luncheon at Club Muroc Oct. 28. (U.S. Ai...
 

 

Step up to better health with AFMC’s challenge

Do you have ‘sitting disease’? Too much time sitting down may put you at risk for health problems. When muscles don’t contract, they require less fuel, and the surplus of sugar that accumulates in the bloodstream contributes to health concerns. Research has shown that sitting for long periods of time – watching TV or at...
 
 

Nurturing relationships and a culture of caring*

When life gets challenging, stressors can build and conflicts can escalate, sometimes leading to abuse. Preventing domestic abuse is fundamental to basic relationship maintenance. Partners in healthy relationships work together every day to nurture their relationship, taking care to address issues and concerns when they occur. Healthy relationships should be safe, respectful and positive. Octob...
 
 
halloween

A safe and spooktacular Halloween

Air Force photograph by Airman 1st William Johnson For most people Halloween means three things: costumes, trick-or-treating and months of free candy. All these things are what make a traditional Halloween a fun time to be shar...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>