Case of human plague confirmed in Oregon

Health officials have confirmed a case of human plague in an Oregon resident who was likely infected by their cat.

All close contacts of the infected person have been contacted and provided medication to prevent the illness, according to Deschutes County Health Services.

The plague spreads from humans to animals through a bite from an infected flea or contact with an animal that has the disease.

Symptoms of plague usually begin two to eight days after exposure. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Visibly swollen lymph nodes

Tips to prevent the spread of plague include:

  • Avoid all contact with rodents and their fleas
  • Keep pets on a leash when outdoors and protect them with flea control products
  • Discourage your cat's hunting of rodents if possible
  • Remove food, woodpiles, and other attractants for rodents around homes and outbuildings
  • Do not camp, sleep, or rest near animal burrows or areas where dead rodents are observed
  • Refrain from feeding squirrels, chipmunks, or other wild rodents in campgrounds and picnic areas
  • Wear long pants tucked into boot tops to reduce exposure to fleas

You can read the full Deschutes County Health Services release on the plague infection here.