Oregon Resident Diagnosed with Rare Bubonic Plague – Health Officials Emphasize Low Risk to Community

First human case of bubonic plague in Oregon confirmed by health officials since 2015

An Oregon resident has been diagnosed with the state’s first case of bubonic plague in six years. The resident, along with their pet cat, and close contacts have been given medication to prevent further illness.

According to Deschutes County Health Services, the resident’s illness was linked to their pet cat. Dr. Richard Fawcett, the Deschutes County health officer, emphasized that the early identification and treatment of the disease present a low risk to the community at large, with no additional cases emerging during the communicable disease investigation.

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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