the man infected by his cat – WWN

the man infected by his cat – WWN

Of Health editorial team

The animal, seriously ill, contracted the plague from infected fleas and then infected its owner. The disease is now very rare in developed countries and treatable with antibiotics

A human case of bubonic plaguecaused by the bacterium
Yersinia pestis
, was registered in Oregon, USA. According to medical officials, the man was infected by his cat, which was also sick with symptoms. Typically the first symptoms of the infection are common to flu-like ones, including fatigue, fever, chills, headache.

Rare infection in pets

According to what was reported by the Oregon authorities, the cat may have brought home infected fleas which would then have bitten and also infected the owner or the man may have been infected through bodily fluids. The bacterium responsible for the plague, Yersina pestisin fact host to fleas typical of rats, squirrels and prairie dogs, however in rare cases fleas can also infect pets. The cat became seriously ill and developed a draining abscess and close contact with the owner probably favored transmission. The man was promptly treated with antibiotics and responded very well to the therapy. However, the cat’s condition is not known.


The Yersina pestis bacterium usually infects small mammals and fleas. Bubonic plague is the most common form of plague and involves the lymphatic system and is called this because the lymphatic glands swell and become real buboes that can evolve into open sores filled with pus. It cannot be ruled out that the plague that hit the Oregon man may have progressed to the pneumonic form, given that he developed a cough while he was in hospital. Pneumonic plague and septicemic plague (bloodstream infection) are more serious to treat.

How widespread the bubonic plague is in the world

While bubonic plague is not transmitted from person to person, pneumonic plague is transmitted through respiratory droplets. The bubonic plague, which is the same black plague that killed millions of people in the Middle Ages, today, thanks to antibiotics, is not as scary as it was in the past. However, the disease is still widespread among populations who live in close contact with animals carrying the pathogen such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, where according to the World Health Organization it causes from one thousand to 3 thousand cases of plague every year throughout the world . Cases are sporadically recorded even in industrialized countries as had happened in Arizona in 2017 while absent in Europe and Australia. In 2019, news of one went around the world Mongolian couple of Kazakh origin died after eating the kidney of a marmot raw contaminated with the plague bacterium

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February 13, 2024 (modified February 13, 2024 | 3:04 pm)

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