And You Thought the Plague Was a Thing of the Past
Earlier this month, a teenage girl in Oregon was diagnosed with bubonic plague. Authorities ascertained that her exposure to this bacterial infection came via a flea bite incurred during a hunting trip she was on in Morrow County, Oregon. Fortunately, the young woman sought treatment soon after her symptoms began, an important factor for the success of the antibiotics given for the treatment of plague.
Incidence of Plague in Modern Era
It's true that the incidence of plague today is nothing like the scourges of the plague in the past, but there are still 5,000 cases reported annually throughout the world. These maps provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that the greatest number of reported cases globally come from Africa and some part of Asia. In the U.S., the average number of cases reported per year are 7, with all of them coming from states west of the Mississippi River. (One case, years ago, was reported in Illinois, but that happened in a lab.)
Transmission of the Plague
The cycle of the transmission of the bacteria that causes the plague goes from infected rodents and wild animals to the fleas which feed on the infected blood to other animals then bitten by the fleas or humans bitten by the fleas.
Carnivorous animals, including domestic cats, can become infected by eating other infected animals. Squirrels, rabbits, prairie dogs and rats are just some of the animals often carrying the plague bacteria.
Image Credit » https://pixabay.com/en/squirrel-eating-squirrel-sweet-cute-610619/ by Sponchia