Rare case of human plague identified in Oregon, likely spread by pet cat, health officials say

“The reason why it hasn’t been eliminated is because there’s an animal reservoir. The bacteria can infect animals, and because we can’t treat all animals in the wild, it persists in nature and thus occasionally causes a limited number of human cases,” said Dr. Dan Barouch, director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, who is not involved in the Oregon case.

Barouch thinks it is “very unlikely” that the plague will spread beyond the person in Oregon. “As long as the person and their immediate contacts are treated — which did occur in this case — the chance it will spread any further is very, very low. So I think that people should not be worried, but if people want to reduce their risks, then they should avoid contact with rodents and fleas and sick animals,” he said. “It turns out cats can be infected quite easily because cats have a difficult time controlling the bacteria themselves,” Barouch said. “Dogs can be infected too, but cats can be infected even more easily. Squirrels, chipmunks, rodents are typically the animals that are infected in the wild.” Read Full Article.