By in Health & Fitness

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.

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Image Credit » by Sponchia

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wolfgirl569 wrote on October 31, 2015, 12:43 PM

I dont think any of the diseases are truly gone, they are just easier to treat now so dont get out of control

LeaPea2417 wrote on October 31, 2015, 12:52 PM

I read about the Oregon girl on Facebook. Luckily today if is caught soon enough, it can be cured.

WordChazer wrote on October 31, 2015, 3:02 PM

Isn't plague one of those diseases that is held in the secure underground vault somewhere as well? I forget which agency maintains that but it may also be CDC.

Ellis wrote on October 31, 2015, 3:45 PM

100 people a year are diagnosed with leprosy in the US....another old world disease we thought we'd heard the last of...

Feisty56 wrote on October 31, 2015, 6:39 PM

Yes, from what I understand there is an 89 percent chance of successfully treating the disease now with antibiotics.

Feisty56 wrote on October 31, 2015, 6:42 PM

Yes. There are three body systems that the plague bacteria can affect: bubonic (lymph nodes), pneumonic (lungs) and septicemic (blood). Of the three, bubonic is the least dangerous, although still fatal if untreated.

Feisty56 wrote on October 31, 2015, 6:45 PM

I wouldn't be surprised to learn that our government and likely others around the world, do have "stashes" of deadly bacteria and viruses.

Feisty56 wrote on October 31, 2015, 6:50 PM

That's true, Ellis . Like the plague of old, leprosy was a condition to be feared. Thankfully these days there are successful treatments. I imagine it's from the history of these diseases and the misery they wrought that I still take notice with a touch of fear in my heart when I read a headline declaring someone has been stricken with either now.

markgraham wrote on October 31, 2015, 7:17 PM

I totally agree with wolfgirl569 those diseases are getting easier to treat with various antibiotics.

Paulie wrote on November 1, 2015, 12:26 AM

I remember getting a plague shot when i was younger. Do they still give these immunizations?

allen0187 wrote on November 1, 2015, 1:44 AM

One would think that with the technological advances we have in science and medicine, these diseases would be eradicated.

crowntower wrote on November 1, 2015, 3:35 AM

I love cats... the first time I have learned to love our first former cat I start to love every cats in the world except for the bad ones. But I guess it is also important to listen to the advice in the news to love your own pet. Because other pets may harm us terribly. I love holding and caressing a cute little cat I saw outside our house and they were so afraid of me and always hissed at me... but I try to win them over... but my sister will always remind me that they are cats with no mind at all.. all they can see that people who gets closer to them will only hurt them and they will definitely defend themselves by biting anyone who touches them.

I hope I can enjoy nature and pets without a threat in my health.

CoralLevang wrote on November 2, 2015, 4:49 AM

Yikes. This is scary. And I though cellulitis was bad!

MegL wrote on November 3, 2015, 1:28 AM

How did she know she had the plague or did she just feel unwell? The accounts of bubonic plague from London in the 17th century were terrible. The plague came to London and then the following year, the "Great Fire of London" seemed to wipe it out. It must have been a terrible few years for Londoners in those day with no antibiotics.

VinceSummers wrote on November 12, 2015, 8:16 AM

Yes, even historically famous tragedies pale with time. Only to be replaced with something new (viz., HIV and ebola). Interestingly (at least to me), aluminum was once considered a precious metal. I will write an article about it.