April 23, 2024

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Oregon confirms its first fatal case of “Black Death” in years

Oregon confirms its first fatal case of “Black Death” in years, sourced from a deceased cat.

Oregon confirms its first fatal case of “Black Death” in years, sourced from a deceased cat.

Health officials in Oregon have confirmed the state’s first fatal case of the plague since 2015, with authorities indicating that the patient likely contracted the disease from their pet cat.

Officials from Deschutes County in central Oregon believe the cat was the source of infection as it also exhibited symptoms of the plague.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most common way to contract the disease is through bites from infected fleas. It is one of three forms of plague that can harm humans, the other two being pneumonic plague and septicemic plague.

Symptoms of the plague in humans include fever, headache, chills, and one or more swollen, painful lymph nodes, which typically appear two to eight days after initial exposure.

Pet cats, in particular, are susceptible to this disease. Apart from being infected through flea bites, cats can also contract a type of plague by coming into contact with infected rodents and then transmitting it to humans.

Dr. Richard Fawcett, a health official in Deschutes County, stated in a written statement on Tuesday, “We have contacted all close contacts of the (deceased) resident and their pet and provided them with medication to prevent the disease.”

Health officials believe there is no public health risk at this time, as medication has been provided to close contacts of the deceased to prevent the spread of the plague.

The last recorded case of the plague in Washington state was in 1984, when a hunter fell ill after skinning a bobcat. According to federal government data, the United States averages about seven human cases of plague each year.



Oregon confirms its first fatal case of "Black Death" in years


What is the “Black Death”?

The Black Death refers to the massive epidemic of the plague that occurred primarily in the mid-14th century. The plague is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis and can manifest in several forms, including bubonic plague, pneumonic plague, and septicemic plague.

Bubonic plague, the most common form, is typically transmitted to humans through bites from infected fleas. Symptoms include high fever, headache, chills, swollen and painful lymph nodes, among others. Pneumonic plague is spread through respiratory droplets and presents with symptoms such as fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Septicemic plague occurs when the plague bacteria enter the bloodstream, leading to severe symptoms and a high fatality rate.

During the Black Death epidemic of the 14th century, it is estimated that tens of millions of people died, making it one of the deadliest pandemics in European history. It had profound social, economic, and cultural impacts on Europe. Although modern medicine has made it possible to effectively prevent and treat the plague, cases of human infection are still reported globally every year.

Oregon confirms its first fatal case of “Black Death” in years, sourced from a deceased cat.

(source:internetIJl4cBhj-bHQypAYge8YYA, reference only)

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