First Human Plague Case in Oregon in 8 Years Traced Back to Pet Cat

According to NBC News, a person living in Deschutes County, Oregon, has been diagnosed with the plague, making it the first human case in the state in over eight years.

Last week, health officials announced a case in which it is believed that a person was likely infected by their pet cat, who had developed symptoms, according to Deschutes County Health Services.

Cats are especially vulnerable to plague because their bodies struggle to eliminate the infection and they are more prone to catching rodents compared to other pets.

Pets can pass on the infection to humans through bodily fluids like sneezes, coughs, and bites from fleas.

Dr. Richard Fawcett, a health officer from Deschutes County, stated that the cat involved in the recent case was in a very sick condition and had a draining abscess.


The abscess showed signs of “a quite significant” infection.

According to Fr. Fawcett, the owner most likely contracted the infection in a lymph node, commonly referred to as the bubonic plague. By the time the owner was hospitalized and under the care of medical professionals, the infection had already spread to the bloodstream.

According to Fawcett, the patient had a positive response to antibiotic treatment. However, there were concerns among some doctors that the patient may have developed a cough while at the hospital, which could potentially be an early indication of pneumonic plague. It remains unclear whether the disease had advanced to that stage.

The news captured attention in the state and across the country, with even Medical SEO algorithms tracking health news taking notice.

According to Fawcett, if it is confirmed that a patient has the bacteria in their blood, it would be advisable to take precautionary measures. He expressed his belief that it is highly unlikely to come across any other cases.

In 2015, Oregon reported its most recent case of human plague. A teenage girl was believed to have contracted the infection from a flea bite.

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