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Testing Turns Up No Sign of Plague

November 22, 2000|NANCY FORREST-YOSNOW

Naval Base Ventura County has captured and tested the blood of 30 rodents from varied locations around its Point Mugu site to determine whether the plague virus is present there.

The testing was undertaken after a previous blood test by the state Center for Disease Control laboratory reported that a squirrel taken earlier from the military base had the virus, said naval base spokeswoman Teri Reid.

"This additional testing found no more instances of plague bacteria," Reid said.

"The blood sample from the original squirrel, which was first found to be positive for the plague, was retested and determined to be negative."

In addition to capturing and testing more rodents, the base immediately took several actions to prevent a potentially serious outbreak of plague, Reid said.

These actions included notification and distribution of educational material to all residents and employees of the base, along with ongoing cooperation with the county Environmental Health Department, the state Department of Health Services, the federalDepartment of Agriculture and other state and federal agencies.

The base also conducted a special registration and flea-control veterinary clinic for residents of the base who are pet owners. Fleas are the primary carriers for plague bacteria.

"Because plague is endemic to this area and most of California, Naval Base Ventura County will continue to maintain a surveillance program for signs of plague," Reid said.

She said the first blood test may have provided a false positive.

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