In recent news, Oregon has experienced its first case of bubonic plague in eight years. This was traced back to a resident who is believed to have been infected by their pet cat. The health officials in Deschutes County have taken immediate action and contacted all close contacts of the infected individual and their pet, providing them with medication to prevent illness.
The bubonic plague, also known as the Black Death, is infamous for causing millions of deaths in Europe from 1347 to 1351. However, it is now easily treatable with modern antibiotics. Despite this, if not treated quickly, the disease can result in serious illness and even death. The disease is generally spread through a bite from an infected flea or contact with an infected animal. Human-to-human transmission is rare and the Oregon case was identified early and the person was treated swiftly, according to officials.
While the bubonic plague may seem like something out of a history book, it continues to occur in rural parts of the West, such as New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. In the U.S., plague infections average about seven cases per year but are significantly higher worldwide. To prevent plague, Deschutes County Health Services recommends various measures such as keeping pets on a leash when outdoors and refraining from feeding squirrels, chipmunks or other wild rodents. Symptoms of the disease in humans usually appear between two to eight days after exposure to an infected animal or flea and can include fever, nausea, weakness, chills