This week at the spacious Millpond Park and Campground north of Bishop, silence covered the well-cut grass hills. Picnic tables sat empty and kids play equipment – the same. The absence of people reflects only the change of seasons, not the fact that the Health Department discovered plague in rodents at the park.
Inyo Environmental Health conducted routine sampling of rodents at Millpond at the end of September. Results just received confirmed a high percentage of rodents testing positive for plague antibodies.
Inyo-Mono Health Officer Dr. Rick Johnson determined that the risk of infection is low, mainly due to seasonally related low rodent populations, and he announced that the park will remain open. Numerous plague warning signs have been posted throughout the grounds. Health officials say the park will be monitored again in the spring and treatment will be conducted at the time if necessary.
Health officials say that plague is a highly infectious bacterial disease which affects primarily rodents. On rare occasions, humans and their pets can contract plague. There are periodic outbreaks in the Eastern Sierra.