Oregon man affected by Bubonic plague: Understanding the role of cats in Americas Black Death

Title: Oregon Confirms First Bubonic Plague Case in Nearly Eight Years, Likely Contracted from Pet Cat

In a concerning development, Oregon health officials have confirmed the state’s first case of bubonic plague in almost eight years. The individual, who remains unidentified, is believed to have contracted the illness from their pet cat. However, there have been no reported fatalities in this case as it was caught in its early stages and the person is currently receiving treatment.

The bubonic plague, also known as the “Black Death,” is not a new phenomenon. Plague cases have been consistently reported in the United States, with an average of seven cases per year between 1970 and 2020. The good news is that modern antibiotics have proven to be highly effective in treating the illness if caught early.

Health officials have identified rodents and smaller woodland mammals, such as squirrels, chipmunks, rats, cats, and prairie dogs, as carriers of the plague. Cats, in particular, are highly susceptible to infection as they hunt and eat rodents. This has prompted cat owners to be cautious and discourage hunting behaviors. Seeking veterinary help is advised if their cat becomes sick after contact with rodents.

This isn’t the first time that plague-related concerns have emerged this year. In 2021, seven counties in Colorado were alerted to be on guard against the plague after a tragic incident where a 10-year-old girl lost her life to the disease. It is believed that the girl contracted the plague from fleas on hogs.

Prairie dogs are highly vulnerable to the plague and serve as an indicator for health officials. Decreased rodent activity among prairie dogs can signal potential plague outbreaks. The plague can be transmitted to humans through flea bites or direct contact with infected animals.

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Symptoms of the bubonic plague resemble those of the flu or even Covid-19, including coughs, fevers, and swollen lymph nodes. Prompt recognition and early medical intervention are essential in order to successfully treat the disease.

While bubonic plague cases are most frequently reported in New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado in the US, Africa continues to have the highest number of cases worldwide.

With this recent case in Oregon, health officials are urging the public to remain vigilant and take necessary precautions to minimize the risk of contracting or spreading the disease. It is crucial for individuals to be aware of potential exposure and seek immediate medical attention if any plague-related symptoms arise.


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