19 May 2006

- Avoid It Like the Plague -

Plague Outbreak in Rodents Closes Natural Bridges National Monument:
The campground at Utah's Natural Bridges National Monument has been closed because of an outbreak of bubonic plague among rodents, a report said. National Park Service officials said fleas that transmit the so-called Black Death to field mice and chipmunks would be killed with insecticides. When satisfied that has worked, the popular campground 40 miles west of Blanding, Utah, will be reopened, officials said.- UPI International

And this

Park officials closed Balcony House at Mesa Verde National Park last month, shutting down the site for three days after a dead squirrel there was presumed to have the bubonic plague.

The site was sprayed with an insecticide known as delta dust, or Deltamethrin, and later re-opened.

The animal was tested and came back as “presumed positive” for the plague, said Tessy Shirakawa, Mesa Verde spokeswoman.

“We assumed it was positive,” Shirakawa said.

A house cat became Montezuma County’s first plague case this year, after it was diagnosed at the end of March.

Plague has also been reported at Colorado National Monument and Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah.