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Rare Case of ‘Black Death’ Disease Strikes Oregon

Oregon patient infected with infamous bubonic plague after contact with sick cat

A rare case of bubonic plague, the same disease that killed a third of Europeans during the “Black Death” pandemic in the Middle Ages, has emerged in Oregon. Health officials say the unidentified patient contracted the infection after contact with a sick pet cat.

The bubonic plague is caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis, often transmitted by fleas or rodents. Symptoms include swollen lymph nodes called “buboes,” fever, and gangrene. Though still dangerous if untreated, death rates have fallen dramatically thanks to modern antibiotics.

Rare Case of 'Black Death' Disease Strikes Oregon

This marks Oregon’s first case since 2015. “While rare, plague occurs naturally in Oregon,” said the state’s Health Authority. Officials remind citizens in affected areas to use caution around wild animals and rodents that could harbor infected fleas.

The patient’s current condition is unknown, but past Oregon cases have resulted in loss of fingers and toes even after survival. Globally, plague hotspots include parts of Africa, Asia, and South America.

Though no vaccine exists in America, preventative measures like insect repellants, home hygiene, and avoiding contact with potentially infected animals can reduce risk. With prompt treatment, the prognosis is usually good.

“Still,” cautioned the CDC, “plague should be taken seriously.” This astonishing disease once wiped out up to 60% of Europeans. So even a smattering of cases today sharpens focus on the black shadows inscribed on the plague’s ancient ledger.

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Anjali is an experienced and acclaimed health and wellness writer known for her informative articles published on premier news websites. With over 5 years of experience translating complex nutritional research into understandable advice.

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