I watched this cute video and I came to conclusion that the lady in the video is putting her life in danger. She kisses a wild chipmunk.

As I know, they have fleas, and fleas have a black plague. Am I right? But maybe the risk of infection in contact with just one chipmunk is low?

How dangerous is such behaviour?

  • $\begingroup$ Very dangerous. Cute videos rot the mind (of those that watch them). $\endgroup$
    – David
    Nov 12, 2018 at 18:05
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I suggest replacing the question title with the one you're actually asking: "Is it possible to contract the plague by kissing a wild chipmunk?" $\endgroup$
    – Armatus
    Nov 12, 2018 at 19:25
  • $\begingroup$ I was going to vote close for opinion-based, but apparently this is actually a risk: cdc.gov/plague/resources/PlagueEcologyUS.pdf $\endgroup$
    – Armatus
    Nov 12, 2018 at 19:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Armatus Yes, transmission risks are generally well studied and not opinion based. If you get a VTC as opinion based itch, hold off for someone who has specific knowledge $\endgroup$
    – De Novo
    Nov 12, 2018 at 20:34
  • $\begingroup$ @DeNovo "As I know" is a signal phrase for opinion basis, but as you can see I do double check $\endgroup$
    – Armatus
    Nov 12, 2018 at 21:05

1 Answer 1


The causative agent of the plague, Yersinia pestis, can be indirectly (via a flea vector) or directly (via exposure to infectious fluid or a bite) transmitted by rodents. In the western United States in particular, Y. pestis is endemic, and ground squirrels, prairie dogs, chipmunks, and woodrats are important reservoirs (see Cecil Medicine Ch. 320). US National parks have signs warning against feeding squirrels and chipmunks for this reason. You can read more about it in a national park brochure . Chipmunks and squirrels indirectly and directly transmit a variety of other diseases as well, including Tularemia (Cecil Ch 319) and various tick and flea borne encephalitides.

  • $\begingroup$ Can you also tell how dangerous is it for that lady? I mean except for kissing the chipmunk, she doesn't seem to be a poor medieval peasant. Not even a poor modern day folk. Maybe if she is generally clean, such cute act poses a low risk? And if she contracts plague, how doomed is she? I wonder how much darkness lurks in this cute video. $\endgroup$
    – user46147
    Nov 13, 2018 at 14:20
  • $\begingroup$ @user46147 Y. pestis infection is treatable, though it can cause loss of limb or death, especially if diagnosis is delayed. It's not a common disease. There are a few thousand cases globally every year. Exposure to the chipmunk is a risk factor, regardless of whether she is a medieval peasant or royalty, and it is a risk factor for more than just the plague. $\endgroup$
    – De Novo
    Nov 13, 2018 at 16:02

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