February 27, 2024 10:25 am
First human case of bubonic plague in Oregon confirmed by health officials since 2015

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, along with their pet cat, have been given medication to prevent further illness.

According to Dr. Richard Fawcett, the Deschutes County health officer, the early identification and treatment of the disease present a low risk to the community at large, with no additional cases emerging during the communicable disease investigation. The Oregon Health Authority reports that 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. The most common animals to carry bubonic plague in Central Oregon are squirrels and chipmunks, 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.

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