A resident in Oregon has been infected with the state’s first instance of bubonic plague since 2015, according to Fox News Digital. The report noted that the individual was likely infected with the plague by their pet cat.
Dr. Richard Fawcett, the Deschutes County health officer, said in a recent release that “[a]ll close contacts of the resident and their pet have been contacted and provided medication to prevent illness.”
Officials familiar with the situation said there was little chance that the infection could present an issue for the community since it was treated in the earlier stages of the disease. There have been no additional cases in the area since an investigation into the illness was launched.
The Cleveland Clinic stated on its website that “[p]lague is an infectious disease caused by a specific type of bacterium called Yersinia pestis. Y. pestis can affect humans and animals and is spread mainly by fleas. Bubonic plague is one type of plague. It gets its name from the swollen lymph nodes (buboes) caused by the disease. The nodes in the armpit, groin and neck can become as large as eggs and can ooze pus.”
The bubonic plague became a historical illness during the 1300s in Europe. The first wave of the illness in Europe came to be known as the Black Plague, which killed millions of people. The death rate was generally thought to have been between 60% and 90%.
The Cleveland Clinic said the following are the most common symptoms of the illness:
Humans can be infected with the disease through bites or contact with infected fleas or animals, according to the report. Officials in central Oregon suggested that the most common animals likely to be carrying the illness would be chipmunks and squirrels. However, mice and other rodents could also carry the disease.
Officials said that the best way to stay uninfected is to steer clear of contact with rodents and fleas, especially those that are sick, injured, or dead.
The illness has also been identified in Arizona, California, Colorado, and New Mexico in recent years. The plague thrives in areas with a high population of rodents or unsanitary locations.
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