The CDC reports that the nation has about seven annual cases, most of which have been in the bubonic form, according to CNN.
Symptoms of plague usually appear two to six days after a bite and may include high fever, chills, nausea, weakness and swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpit or groin. It does not require isolation.
"The disease isn't endemic to Georgia," said Georgia Department of Public Health spokeswoman Nancy Nydam. "Plague is found in the Western states in rodent fleas. This is the first recorded case of plague in Georgia and the individual was infected while traveling in California."
She said officials want people to be aware, given the amount of traveling they do.
The plague is an infectious bacterial disease that is carried by the fleas of squirrels, chipmunks and other wild rodents and their fleas. Infected rodent fleas can carry the infection to other warm-blooded animals including humans.
Currently, there is an investigation into plague-infected animals in Yosemite National Park, Sierra National Forest and surrounding areas. Preventive measures are being taken to reduce the risk of transmission.
People usually get plague after being bitten by a rodent flea that is carrying the plague bacterium or by handling an animal infected with plague. It’s rare to have human to human transmission..
Experts offer these tips to protect yourself:
• Never feed squirrels, chipmunks or other rodents and never touch sick or dead rodents.
• Avoid walking or camping near rodent burrows.
• Wear long pants tucked into socks or boot tops to reduce exposure to fleas.