County environmental health officials urged campers and hikers to take simple steps to protect themselves Friday after routine monitoring and testing showed that a ground squirrel on Palomar Mountain had plague.
The squirrel, which was trapped at the Cedar Grove Campground, marked the first case of plague found this year.
Department of Environmental Health Director Jack Miller said it’s not unusual to find plague in local mountains during warmer months — and that people could take simple steps to protect themselves from exposure.
“The big thing is to avoid contact with squirrels and the fleas that they can carry,” Miller said. “Campers should set up tents away from squirrel burrows, and hikers and campers should never feed squirrels and warn their children not to play with squirrels.”