Oregon Girl Diagnosed With Bubonic Plague

Investigators from the California Department of Public Health sprayed insecticide in August to kill fleas in Yosemite National Park after two cases of plague were linked to the park. (PHOTO CREDIT: California Department of Public Health, via Getty Images)
Investigators from the California Department of Public Health sprayed insecticide in August to kill fleas in Yosemite National Park after two cases of plague were linked to the park. (PHOTO CREDIT: California Department of Public Health, via Getty Images)

The authorities in Oregon have confirmed a case of the bubonic plague in a teenage girl who was believed to have contracted the disease from a flea bite.

Plague is rare and treatable with antibiotics if caught early, but federal authorities have been puzzled by an increase in cases this year.

In a statement, state and local health officials in Oregon said they thought the girl was infected during a hunting trip on Oct. 16 near Heppner, a city located at the foothills of the Blue Mountains in the northeastern region of the state.

She fell ill on Oct. 21 and was hospitalized days later. She is now in the intensive care unit.

There have been no other reported recent cases, the statement said.

Plague is an infectious bacterial disease that is carried by wild rodents and transmitted to their fleas, who then carry the infection to other animals or humans through bites. Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, weakness and a cough.

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SOURCE: NY Times, Christine Hauser