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Ground squirrels in south of Boise test positive for plague

Ground squirrels (also known as whistle pigs) found dead south of Boise have tested positive for the plague, health officials in Idaho said on Friday.

Ground squirrels in south of Boise test positive for plague

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare and Idaho Fish and Game have urged people to exercise caution as outdoor summer activities shift into high gear over the long Memorial Day weekend.

The plague can infect common rodents, including ground squirrels, rats, voles, and mice. According to officials, tree squirrels in Idaho are not known to carry plague.

Health officials say taking these simple precautions can reduce the risk of becoming infected:

Do not feed rodents in picnic or campground areas and do not handle sick or dead rodents.

Keep your pets from roaming and hunting ground squirrels or other rodents in affected desert areas.

Talk to your veterinarian about using an appropriate flea control product on pets as not all products are safe for cats, dogs or children.

Clean up areas near your home where rodents can live, such as woodpiles.

Sick pets should be examined promptly by a veterinarian.
See your doctor if you have any unexplained illness involving a sudden and severe fever after being in a plague-impacted area.

Put hay, wood, and compost piles as far as possible from your home.

Symptoms of plague in humans include sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, and weakness. In most cases there is a painful swelling of the lymph node in the groin, armpit or neck areas.