Deschutes County Health Services has announced that an Oregon resident has been diagnosed with the state’s first case of bubonic plague in six years. The resident’s illness is believed to have been contracted from their pet cat.
Dr. Richard Fawcett, the Deschutes County health officer, stated that early identification and treatment of the disease pose a low risk to the community at large. No additional cases have emerged during the communicable disease investigation. According to the Oregon Health Authority, the last human case of plague in Oregon was reported six years ago.
Symptoms of bubonic plague include fever, weakness, nausea, chills, muscle aches, and visibly swollen lymph nodes. Squirrels and chipmunks are the most common animals to carry bubonic plague in Central Oregon, although other rodents can also transmit the disease. To prevent infection, health officials recommend avoiding contact with rodents and fleas, including sick, injured, or dead rodents.