Oregon Reports First Human Case of Bubonic Plague in Nearly a Decade
Oregon State in the US recently confirmed its first human case of bubonic plague in almost ten years, with reports suggesting that the infection likely originated from the patient's cat. While rare in the US, the bubonic plague sees an average of 5 to 15 cases annually in the Western region, primarily in rural areas where wild rodents are prevalent. The infected individual, identified as a resident of Deschutes County, central Oregon, is reportedly the sole person affected, aside from the symptomatic pet.
Health officials promptly notified and provided medication to all close contacts of the patient and their pet to prevent further spread. Though the conditions of both the person and their cat remain undisclosed, the case was detected and treated early, posing minimal risk to the community.
The bubonic plague, infamous for its devastation in 14th-century Europe, is transmitted through fleas from infected rodents. Symptoms include high fever, lethargy, and swollen lymph nodes, typically appearing within two to eight days of exposure. While antibiotics can effectively treat the disease if diagnosed early, it can be fatal if left untreated.
This recent case marks Oregon's first since 2015 when a teenage girl contracted the disease from a flea bite. With only nine reported human cases in Oregon since 1995, authorities advise avoiding contact with wild rodents and keeping pets away from them to prevent infection.