Portland, Ore. — (KGW) A 16-year-old Crook County girl has been diagnosed with bubonic plague, Oregon health officials confirmed.
The Oregon Health Authority said the girl likely acquired the disease from a flea bite during a hunting trip near Heppner on Oct. 16. She got sick five days later and was admitted to the intensive care unit at a Bend hospital.
No other people in Crook County have been infected with the plague, according to OHA spokesman Jonathan Modie.
Epidemiologists with Oregon Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working with Crook, Deschutes and Morrow County health officials to investigate the illness. “Many people think of the plague as a disease of the past, but it’s still very much present in our environment, particularly among wildlife,” said state public health veterinarian Emilio DeBess. “Fortunately, plague remains a rare disease, but people need to take appropriate precautions with wildlife and their pets to keep it that way.”
Bubonic plague is a bacterial disease carried by rodents and their fleas, according to the CDC.
If detected early, the disease is treatable with antibiotics. Only eight human cases have been diagnosed in the state since 1995, and no deaths have been reported, according to the OHA.
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