A resident of Oregon has been infected with the state’s first case of bubonic plague since 2015, according to health officials. It is believed that the resident was likely infected with plague by their cat, and all close contacts of the resident and their pet have been contacted and provided medication to prevent illness, as reported by Deschutes County Health Services.
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. There have been no additional cases of plague that have emerged during the communicable disease investigation. The bubonic plague can progress to more severe forms if not diagnosed early on, such as septicemic plague (a bloodstream infection) or pneumonic plague (a lung infection).
The last reported human case of plague in Oregon occurred in 2015. Symptoms typically appear within two to eight days after exposure and include a sudden onset of fever, nausea, weakness, chills, muscle aches, and visibly swollen lymph nodes called buboes. Humans can be infected through bites or contact with infected fleas or animals. In Central Oregon, officials advise residents to avoid contact with rodents and fleas, including sick or dead rodents, in order to prevent further spread of the disease.