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Oregon Health Officials Report First Bubonic Plague Case in Eight Years: A Reminder of Pet-to-Human Transmission

Last week, health officials in Deschutes County, Oregon, reported the state’s first case of bubonic plague in over eight years. The unidentified resident, who is believed to have contracted the plague from their pet cat, has been diagnosed and is currently under watch. Bubonic plagu, infamous for causing the ‘Black Death’ in the medieval era, is a rare infection but is not extinct, with occasional cases reported in the U.S.

According to Dr. Richard Fawcett, a health officer for Deschutes County speaking to NBC News, this particular transmission likely occurred from the patient’s pet cat. It’s important to note that house pets, especially cats, can become infected with plague through the ingestion or bites of infected fleas, or through the consumption of an infected rodent.

Further, this case prompts necessary public awareness about the precautions necessary to prevent bubonic plague transmissions from pet animals. While the disease can be fatal, prompt treatment with antibiotics can lower mortality rates. This emphasizes the importance of timely diagnosis in scenarios of potential plague exposure.


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