Pet Cat in Oregon Gives Resident Case of Bubonic Plague

Oregon Resident Contracts Bubonic Plague from Pet Cat

An Oregon resident has become the latest victim of the bubonic plague after contracting the disease from their pet cat. This marks the first case of the plague in the state since 2015, raising concerns about the potential spread of the disease. The plague bacteria, known as Yersinia pestis, typically circulates in rodents and their fleas, causing an average of seven human cases per year in the United States.

Cases of the plague tend to cluster in specific regions, including northern New Mexico, northern Arizona, southern Colorado, California, far western Nevada, and now southern Oregon. The recent case in Oregon occurred in the central county of Deschutes. Fortunately, the disease was caught early before it could develop into a more severe infection. However, there were concerns about the progression towards pneumonic plague, a severe and potentially fatal form of the disease.

The infected individual received prompt antibiotic treatment, which has proven successful so far. Health officials have taken immediate action by contacting close contacts of the patient and their pet, providing necessary medication to prevent further illness. The cat, which had a draining abscess, is believed to have transmitted the disease through plague-infected fleas or direct contact.

Cats are particularly vulnerable to the plague and are considered a common source of infection in the United States. It is crucial for pet owners to be vigilant and take necessary precautions to protect their pets from flea exposure. Health authorities have offered tips to prevent contracting the disease, which include avoiding contact with fleas and rodents, keeping pets protected with flea control products, and taking precautions while camping or hiking in areas with high rodent populations.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been a total of 496 plague cases in the US between 1970 and 2020, with 14 deaths recorded between 2000 and 2020. This recent case serves as a reminder that the plague, while relatively rare, still poses a threat and should be taken seriously.

As health officials continue to monitor the situation, it is vital for individuals to stay informed and take proactive measures to protect themselves and their pets from this potentially deadly disease.

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