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California reports 1st plague case in 5 years

California officials have confirmed the state's first plague case since 2015.

The El Dorado County Health and Human Services Agency said this week that a resident of South Lake Tahoe tested positive for plague, CNN reports. Officials said they believe the person, who they described as an "avid walker" and who is recovering at home, may have been bitten by an infected flea while they were walking their dog. According to the CDC, in the United States, there are an average of seven plague cases in humans reported a year.

"It's important that individuals take precautions for themselves and their pets when outdoors, especially while walking, hiking and/or camping in areas where wild rodents are present," El Dorado County Public Health Officer Dr. Nancy Williams said. "Human cases of plague are extremely rare but can be very serious."

A plague case was last confirmed in California in 2015, when there were two human cases following exposure to infected rodents or fleas in Yosemite National Park, and those were the first human cases in the state since 2006, officials said. Those individuals recovered, and health officials noted this week that plague can be treated with antibiotics if it's detected early. A New Mexico man earlier this month, however, died from septicemic plague in what was that state's second case of the year.