A campground at Utah’s Natural Bridges National Monument reopened Thursday (May 18) after it was closed for three weeks because bubonic plague had been detected in field mice and chipmunks.
The Associated Press reported that the area was thoroughly doused with insecticides to kill fleas that carry the plague, according to Corky Hays, park superintendent.
Humans usually contract bubonic plague after being bitten by fleas that have bitten infected rodents.
After follow-up tests, Natural Bridges was cleared to reopen the campsite, Hays said. Park staff will continue to monitor the area, which is about 250 miles southeast of Salt Lake City.
Plague also has been found this spring in rodent populations at Mesa Verde National Park and Colorado National Monument.
The disease occurs throughout the West, but is concentrated in the Four Corners area of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. An average of 18 cases involving humans are reported each year in the U.S., according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.