VAN NUYS (CBSLA.com) — An unnamed Los Angeles County child has contracted the plague in the first human case to be reported in California in nearly a decade.
Due to privacy laws, not many details have been released about the child, who is recovering at an undisclosed hospital in the county. No other family members reported symptoms.READ MORE: Angels Games Saturday And Sunday Postponed Due To Positive COVID-19 Tests On The Twins Roster
The news of the diagnosis, however, has residents like Charlene Nunez concerned.
“Especially because we go hiking, I kind of get more scared since they fall and they like to touch things and they’re very curious,” said Nunez, who explains that she and her five children have been outdoors nearly every day this summer where they encounter squirrels.
But now, Nunez says, they’ll be a lot more careful in the wake of the announcement by public health officials that the unidentified child had contracted the plague during a recent trip to Yosemite National Park.
It’s the first case of the plague reported in California since 2006.
“The plague is extremely, extremely rare,” said Brian Ostick, director of emergency services at Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys.READ MORE: Kroger Closing Ralph's And Food 4 Less In Long Beach Saturday Over Hero Pay Law
Ostick says the plague is a potentially deadly infectious bacterial disease carried by rodents and their fleas.
“The symptoms would be fever, nausea, vomiting and then classically people get swollen lymph nodes in the neck, and then in the groin and in their armpits,” he said.
To avoid exposure, Ostick advises not feeding or getting close to wild rodents, including squirrels.
That’s something Nunez says she and her kids will no longer be doing.
“Now, we’re gonna be very protective, especially when we go to the park or hiking,” she added.MORE NEWS: LA County’s COVID Positivity Rate Hits Record Low; 600K Vaccine Doses Available Next Week
State health officials have now launched an emergency investigation to determine if the disease has spread. Earlier this week, an adult in Colorado died from the plague.