Public health officials confirmed Thursday that plague is responsible for the illness of a Crook County man who had to be hospitalized earlier this week.
The man, who is in critical condition at St. Charles Bend, was exposed to plague after coming into contact with his sick outdoor cat.
The family of the hospitalized man said the cat came home after a several-day absence looking gravely ill. The hospitalized man tried to help the cat and was exposed to plague bacteria, Yersinia Pestis.
The cat died of its illness; its body was sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing.
No additional cases of plague have been found.
Plague is spread to humans through a bite from an infected flea or by contact with an animal sick with the disease. The disease is relatively rare in Oregon, the Crook County Health Department said.
Symptoms of plague include chills, fever, headache and weakness. People can protect themselves against the disease by avoiding sick or dead rodents, keeping pets from roaming and hunting, and using flea control products on pets.
Anyone who observes sick or dead rodents of any kind is asked to contact the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife at 1-866-968-2600.
— Bulletin staff reports