Escondido, CA

Plague infected squirrel found on Palomar Mtn.

A squirrel caught in routine surveillance on Palomar Mountain has tested positive for plague, prompting County environmental health officials to remind campers and hikers to steer clear of animals in the wild.

This is the first detection of the disease in San Diego County in 2015.

County environmental health officials reminded people that it is common to find the bacteria — Yersina pestis — that causes plague in San Diego County mountains and that hikers and campers should always avoid coming into contact with squirrels, chipmunks and other animals in the wild.

“You should never feed or play with squirrels when you see them outdoors,” said Environmental Health Department Director Elizabeth Pozzebon. “If you’re camping, don’t set up your tents near squirrel burrows. And if you find dead squirrels, report them to park rangers.”

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