An eight-year-old human plague infection's most likely etiology has been revealed by state health experts.

DESCHUTES COUNTY (WKRC) in Oregon - The first human case of the bubonic plague in about eight years was recently recorded in one state.

According to Oregon's Deschutes County Health Services, the person got it from a pet cat.

Health officer Dr. Richard Fawcett says the cat was "very sick" and had an abscess that was draining.

Furthermore, he declared that by the time the owner arrived at the hospital, the infection had entered the bloodstream.

It seems that some medical professionals believed the patient had a cough, which could indicate that the illness had advanced and turned into the pneumonic plague.

Pneumonic plague can spread from person to person and is frequently fatal. Dr. Fawcett asserts that it's unclear whether that actually occurred.

If an animal comes into contact with an infected rodent or is bitten by a flea carrying the bacterium that causes the plague, they could get the bubonic plague.

Humans contract the disease from other people by inhaling or sneezing biological fluids, such as tissue.
Additionally, fleas harboring the bacterium Yersinia pestis can be brought home by pets, and the owner may subsequently get bitten.

Health officials claim that because cats are more prone to chase rodents and because their bodies have a harder time fending off the plague, they are more susceptible to it.

Antibiotics were used in the latest diagnosis' treatment. Physicians also attended to the patient's family members.

"If we know a patient has the bacteria in the blood, we might decide to be on the safe side," Dr. Fawcett tells NBC News.

Those infected with the bubonic plague will present with painful swelling in the lymph nodes, and can be easily cured with antibiotics most of the time.

However, if it is left untreated and makes its way into the bloodstream, it can cause potentially fatal complications.

“It’s the same thing that caused the Black Death, but that was in the pre-antibiotic era,” said David Wagner, director of the Biodefense and Disease Ecology Center at Northern Arizona University.

Dr. Fawcett states that there is probably very little chance of a spread in Oregon. An average of seven human cases of the plague are reported annually in the United States.

Wagner added, "We still don't have a good handle on plague persistence in the western U.S. environment." It's just very mysterious. We have no idea what's going on out there because it kind of vanishes into these rodent populations.

It's recommended that pet owners use flea control solutions, keep their animals on leashes while they're outside, and take them to the veterinarian right away if they get sick after handling a rat.

Health officials warn humans should also avoid contact with rodents and should not try to feed squirrels or chipmunks.

An eight-year-old human plague infection's most likely etiology has been revealed by state health experts.

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