Deschutes County recently reported the first case of bubonic plague in eight years, which was traced back to a resident who may have been infected by their pet cat. Dr. Richard Fawcett, the county’s health services officer, stated that all close contacts of the infected resident and their pet have been contacted and provided with medication to prevent the disease. The bubonic plague is mainly spread by the bite of an infected flea or contact with an infected animal, but human-to-human transmission is rare.

The bubonic plague, also known as the Black Death, caused millions of deaths in Europe from 1347 to 1351. However, it is now easily treatable with modern antibiotics. In the US, plague infections continue to occur in rural parts of the West such as New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average human case of plague in the US is about seven each year, although the number is much higher worldwide.

To prevent plague infections Deschutes County Health Services recommends various measures such as keeping pets on a leash when outside 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 may include fever, nausea, weakness, chills, muscle aches and swollen lymph nodes. It’s important for individuals living in rural areas to be aware of these risks and take necessary precautions to prevent infection.

By Editor

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