“It is the bubonic plague, the Black Death. It’s the same organism that it always has been,” said Dr. Mark Dimenna speaking to KOAT 7 US TV news channel.
The black death-infected Californian ground squirrel was reportedly found covered in fleas during a routine wildlife check. Three campsites in the National Forest have been shut down as a precaution, according to Los Angeles Daily News.
However, hikers will still be allowed to travel through the area, with the advice that they should take insect repellent and ensure pets are fitted with flea collars. The disease spreads through bacteria in infected flea bites.
On average 7 people a year are diagnosed with the plague in the US, according to cdc.gov.
Between 75 and 200 million people were thought to have been killed by the Black Death in the 14th century across Europe. The Great Plague of London killed an estimated 100,000 in London through infected rat fleas from 1665-1666.
Image via Thinkstock