Last week, health officials announced that a resident of Oregon has contracted bubonic plague, marking the state’s first case since 2015.
According to a news release by Deschutes County Health Services on Wednesday, it is believed that the resident contracted the plague from their cat, which was showing symptoms of the disease.
“All individuals who had close contact with the resident and their pet have been notified and given medication to prevent illness,” stated Dr. Richard Fawcett, the health officer of Deschutes County. The infected resident was not specifically identified in the release.
Authorities reassured the public that the community faced minimal risk as the case was promptly detected and addressed during the initial phases of the illness. There have been no new cases of plague discovered during the investigation into the spread of the disease.
If left undiagnosed, the bubonic plague can develop into the septicemic plague or pneumonic plague, which are more severe and challenging to treat.
According to the Oregon Health Authority, the most recent case of plague in Oregon was reported in 2015.
Most individuals start experiencing symptoms of the plague within two to eight days after being exposed. Some symptoms that may be experienced include a sudden fever, feelings of nausea, weakness, chills, muscle aches, and the presence of visibly swollen lymph nodes known as buboes.
It is possible for humans to contract an infection from bites, contact with infected fleas, or from infected animals.
Officials in Central Oregon have cautioned that squirrels and chipmunks are the most common carriers of bubonic plague in the area. However, they also mentioned that mice and other rodents can potentially carry the disease.
Officials advise residents and pets to avoid any contact with rodents and fleas, including those that are ill, injured, or dead, in order to stop the spread of the plague.