Bubonic Plague Revives its Fears in Oregon: Deschutes County Announces First Case in 8 Years

Bubonic Plague Case Confirmed in Oregon

In recent years, Oregon has seen its first case of bubonic plague in eight years, announced by health officials in Deschutes County. This was traced back to a resident who was likely infected by their pet cat. The county’s Health Services Officer, Dr. Richard Fawcett, stated that all close contacts of the infected resident and their pet have been contacted and provided medication to prevent illness.

The disease is generally spread through a bite from an infected flea or contact with an infected animal. However, human-to-human transmission is rare and the Oregon case was identified early and the person was treated swiftly, according to officials. Despite the infamous reputation of the bubonic plague for causing millions of deaths in Europe from 1347 to 1351, it is now easily treatable with modern antibiotics. If not treated quickly, however, the disease can result in serious illness and even death.

Infections continue to occur in rural parts of the West such as New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that human plague cases in the U.S. average about seven each year, though the number is 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 or 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, muscle aches

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