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An Oregon resident has been diagnosed with the state’s first case of bubonic plague in six years, according to health officials. The resident’s illness has been linked to their pet cat by Deschutes County Health Services.

The resident and their pet, along with their close contacts, have been given medication to prevent further illness. Dr. Richard Fawcett, the Deschutes County health officer, emphasized that the early identification and treatment of the disease presents low risk to the community at large, with no additional cases emerging during the communicable disease investigation.

According to the Oregon Health Authority, the last human case of plague in Oregon was reported six years ago. Symptoms of the plague include fever, weakness, nausea, chills, muscle aches, and visibly swollen lymph nodes. The most common animals to carry bubonic plague in Central Oregon are squirrels and chipmunks, although other rodents can also transmit the disease. To prevent infection, health officials recommend avoiding contact with rodents and fleas, including sick, injured, or dead rodents.

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