Earlier this week, health officials announced that a resident of Oregon had been infected with the state’s first case of bubonic plague since 2015. The resident was likely infected with the plague by their cat, according to Deschutes County Health Services. All close contacts of the resident and their pet have been contacted and provided medication to prevent illness, according to Dr. Richard Fawcett, the Deschutes County health officer.
In response to the news, officials reassured the community that there is little risk to it since the case was identified and treated in the early stages of the disease. No additional cases of plague have emerged during the communicable disease investigation. The bubonic plague can progress to more severe forms such as septicemic plague (bloodstream infection) and/or pneumonic plague (lung infection) if not diagnosed early.
The last case of human plague in Oregon was reported in 2015, and officials reminded the public that humans typically begin showing symptoms within two to eight days of exposure. Symptoms include fever, nausea, weakness, chills, muscle aches and visibly swollen lymph nodes known as buboes. Humans can contract bubonic plague through bites or contact with infected fleas or animals. In Central Oregon, officials warned that squirrels and chipmunks are commonly known carriers of bubonic plague although mice and other rodents can also carry it. To prevent spreading the disease residents should avoid contact with rodents and fleas including sick injured or dead rodents.
Despite this new case, officials emphasized that while they are taking all necessary precautions they are also encouraging people who may have been exposed or experiencing any symptoms related to bubonic