Oregon reports first human case of bubonic plague in more than 8 years; Chance of spread from pet cat | World news

NEW DELHI: Oregon in the US has reported its first human case of bubonic plague in more than eight years, with health officials suggesting it may have been transmitted from a symptomatic pet cat.

The affected resident and their sick pet received immediate medical attention, reducing the risk to the community, officials said.

The incident marks Oregon's first outbreak of plague since 2015, when a teenage girl contracted the disease from a flea bite. Only nine human cases have been reported in the state since 1995, and there have been no fatalities, making the disease extremely rare.

What is bubonic plague?

Bubonic plague, best known for its historical impact in 14th-century Europe in the form of the Black Death, was spread by wild rodents and fleas. When an infected rodent becomes infected, its fleas can spread the disease to other animals or humans by biting them. Symptoms, including a high fever and swollen lymph nodes, develop within two to eight days of exposure. Although fatal if left untreated, early diagnosis allows for effective antibiotic therapy.

How common is the disease?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites an average of 5 to 15 cases per year in the western United States, where the disease is typically found in rural to semi-rural areas with feral rodent populations.

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Bubonic plague in America

While the United States sees an average of seven human plague cases annually, the hotspot is concentrated in the rural West, particularly in states such as northern New Mexico, northern Arizona, southern Colorado, California, southern Oregon, and western Nevada.

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