Bubonic plague was discovered in the USA for the first time in many years: the patient could have been infected by a cat

Bubonic plague was discovered in the USA for the first time in many years: the patient could have been infected by a cat

The first case of bubonic plague in more than 8 years was discovered in the American state of Oregon.

The man likely contracted the disease from his pet cat, the Deschutes County Health Department and NBC News reported.

County Health Officer Richard Fawcett said the cat was very ill and had an abscess (inflammation of tissue with purulence), indicating a serious infection.

It is not yet known how the pet infected the owner.

According to Fawcett, the infection in the animal’s host could have started from the lymph nodes, which is typical for bubonic plague. When the man was hospitalized, the infection spread to the bloodstream.

Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Public Health Image Library/Wikimedia Commons

According to Fawcett, the patient is responding very well to antibiotic treatment. Doctors also gave the necessary medicine to people who were in close contact with him.

The previous case of plague in Oregon was recorded in 2015, when a teenage girl became infected from a flea bite.

And in 2014, four cases of plague were registered in the state of Colorado – an infected pit bull terrier infected the owner and veterinarians.

We remind you that the plague is a zoonotic infectious disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis.

This disease is characterized by fever, severe intoxication, hemorrhagic syndrome, damage to the lymphatic system with the formation of buboes (inflamed lymph nodes), sepsis, etc. There are two main clinical forms of plague: bubonic (the most common) and pneumonic.

People are most often infected with the plague through the bites of fleas, which, in particular, are carried by rodents.

Pets can also become infected if they prey on plague-infected rodents or if they are bitten by an infected flea.

Cats are especially susceptible to plague, in particular, because they catch rodents more often. Dogs are also infected with plague, but less often.

Illustration Emily Lankiewicz/Wikimedia Commons

Plague is a disease with a fatality rate of 30% to 60% that has caused at least three pandemics in history. In particular, in the XIV century. plague raged in Europe and killed 25 million people.

Plague is now treated with antibiotics, so early diagnosis and treatment can save lives.

According to WHO, plague is still an endemic disease in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar and Peru.

We will remind you that earlier we explained in more detail what you should know about the plague or “black death”.

Read also: The first case of bubonic plague was discovered in China in 2022

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