Bubonic plague may seem like a disease of the past, but the bacteria behind the disease is still there. It has caused thousands of human infections worldwideAlthough relatively rare in the US from year to year.
The state of Oregon confirmed its first case in eight years, and officials said it likely came from a domestic cat, which also showed symptoms.
Oregon Health Officer Richard Fawcett They spoke Aria Bendix told NBC News that the patient who contracted the outbreak from their pet was “very sick.”
This type of infection usually begins with flu-like symptoms, including fatigue, fever, chills, and headache.
A recent outbreak in Oregon, however, has progressed to the level of an abscess known as “bubo.” An unusual result Currently.
Thankfully, modern antibiotics mean that bubonic plague doesn’t have to be a death sentence. The bacteria behind the disease; Yarsinia pestIt is rarely fatal if caught and treated adequately.
The patient in Oregon appears to be responding well to modern therapy, and his close contact has also been treated to prevent further spread.
Officials did not say how the infection spread from the cat to the owner, but if the cat was bitten by infected fleas, the pet You may have brought fleas homeExposing the owner. Either that, or the owner may have come in contact with the cat’s contaminated fluids.
Y. pestis It usually affects small mammals and fleas, and It depends on how it is transmitted to peopleIt can cause bubonic plague or blood- or lung-based plague through bites, contaminated fluids, or airborne droplets.
Bubonic plague is the most common and involves the lymphatic system, causing swollen and painful lymph nodes to open and pus-filled sores.
Once the infection spreads, it can also infect the lungs. A patient in Oregon started coughing in the hospital, a sign that the disease was progressing to a dangerous stage.
The outbreak was first reported in the US At the beginning of the 20th centuryBrought to the nation through rats on a ship.
The country’s last urban epidemic ended in 1925, but the bacteria were harbored by rural rat populations, causing periodic outbreaks outside major cities.
Today, most cases in the US occur in the Midwest and rural Northwest, with an average of about seven reported cases per year.
It was the last time a case was reported in Oregon He returned in 2015When a girl caught the virus on a hunting trip and entered intensive care.
No deaths due to the epidemic have been recorded in the state in decades.
Outside the U.S., the epidemic is present on every continent bar Oceania, but places where the disease is most frequent are places with animal reservoirs and dense human populations, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, and Peru.
Especially during a bad epidemic of the disease Hundreds of lives could be lost.
It still compares favorably with the Black Death that struck Europe in the 15th century and the plagues that struck China and India in the 19th century. MillionsBubonic plague is not the global killer it used to be.
Even so, thanks to its past reputation, a case in the US can still make headlines – when the patient is successfully treated and the infection is stopped in its tracks.