A man in Oregon is severely ill in hospital with a suspected case of the plague, thought to have been contracted as he tried saving a mouse from the jaws of a stray cat in his neighbourhood.
The unnamed man, said to be in his 50s, was bitten as he attempted to extract the rodent from the cat’s mouth, although it was unclear from which animal he caught the disease.
“Taking a mouse out of a cat’s mouth is probably not a good idea,” said Emilio DeBess, the public health veterinarian for Oregon.
After falling ill with a fever a few days later, he checked into a hospital where doctors said he was exhibiting classic symptoms of the devastating 14th Century disease.
Initially he showed signs of the Bubonic plague, including swollen lymph nodes in his armpits and groin. He then had abdominal pains and bleeding – a symptom of Septicaemic plague.
The Black Death, one of the worst pandemics in human history, was caused by an outbreak of the plague, resulting in the deaths of 25 million people in Europe between 1348 and 1350…
Modern drugs can cure the disease if administered soon enough – however a vaccine for the plague is not currently sold in America. Without the inoculation, around 70 per cent of plague victims usually die within a few days of exposure…
Only four people have died from the disease since 1934.
I left in the last sentence because it’s quite wrong. We average about a half-dozen cases of bubonic plague a year in New Mexico. It’s not at all unusual for those to result in 2 or 3 deaths.
I worry more about Hantavirus; but, that’s me.