A pet owner in Oregon has caught the bubonic plague from their cat in a rare example of the potentially deadly illness surfacing in the United States, local authorities have said.
The plague was responsible for the Black Death in medieval Europe and elsewhere which killed millions of people and devastated the continent. In modern times it has become much rarer.
Local officials said the unnamed person in rural Deschutes county, Oregon, had likely caught the plague from their pet, which was displaying symptoms of the disease.
“All close contacts of the resident and their pet have been contacted and provided medication to prevent illness,” said Dr Richard Fawcett, Deschutes County Health Officer in a statement.
The case is the first example of the bubonic plague in Oregon since 2015. It is usually found in the area being carried by squirrels, chipmunks, mice and other rodents.
Symptoms of the plague begin two to eight days after exposure to an infected animal or flea and may include fever, nausea, weakness, chills, muscle aches, and visibly swollen lymph nodes called buboes, which give the plague its name.
“Fortunately, this case was identified and treated in the earlier stages of the disease, posing little risk to the community. No additional cases of plague have emerged during the communicable disease investigation,” the county said in a statement.