A resident of Oregon has been infected with the state’s first case of bubonic plague since 2015, according to health officials. The infection is believed to have been contracted from their cat, according to Deschutes County Health Services. All close contacts of the resident and their pet have been contacted and provided medication to prevent illness, said Dr. Richard Fawcett, the Deschutes County health officer.
The bubonic plague can progress to the more severe and difficult to treat septicemic plague (bloodstream infection) and/or pneumonic plague (lung infection) if not diagnosed early. Officials reassured the community that there is little risk to it since the case was identified and treated in the early stages of the disease. There have been no additional cases of plague that have emerged during the communicable disease investigation.
Humans typically begin to show symptoms of the plague within two to eight days of exposure, including a sudden onset of fever, nausea, weakness, chills, muscle aches and visibly swollen lymph nodes called buboes. Humans can be infected through bites or contact with infected fleas or animals such as squirrels, chipmunks, mice and other rodents are most common animals in Central Oregon that carry bubonic plague. Officials recommended that residents and pets avoid contact with rodents and fleas, including sick, injured or dead rodents in order to prevent spread of this infectious disease.