Ground squirrels found dead south of Boise have tested positive for the plague.  So what does that mean for us here in Boise?

The ground squirrel, which is also knows as the whistle pig, is one of the common rodents that can become infected by the plague.  Tree squirrels are not known to get infected.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare and Idaho Fish and Game are asking people to keep their distance and use precaution when outdoors, which may be a lot for the Memorial Day weekend.  Do not feed, touch, or play with the squirrels.

Health officials also ask that you...

  • Keep your pets from roaming and hunting
  • Clean up areas near your home where rodents can live
  • Sick pets should be examined quickly
  • See your doctor immediately if you have an unexplained illness
  • Put wood, compost, and hay far away from your house
  • Don't leave pet food and water out

Symptoms of the plague in humans is fever, chills, headaches, and loss of energy.  A lot of times there's painful swelling in the groin, armpits, or neck areas.  Prompt diagnosis and treatment keeps the fatality rate in people and pets greatly reduced.