In 2015, Oregon reported its first case of bubonic plague since then, according to health officials. The resident was likely infected with the plague by their cat. All close contacts have been contacted and given medication to prevent illness, according to Deschutes County Health Services.
Officials reassured the community that there is little risk to it since the case was identified and treated early in its development. There have been no additional cases of plague reported during the communicable disease investigation. It’s important for people to remember that if not diagnosed early, bubonic plague can progress into a more severe form such as septicemic plague (bloodstream infection) or pneumonic plague (lung infection).
Humans typically show symptoms within two to eight days of exposure and can include 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. Squirrels and chipmunks are the most common animals to carry bubonic plague in Central Oregon but mice and other rodents can also carry it. To prevent the spread of the disease, residents are advised to avoid contact with sick or injured rodents and fleas.