The Oregon Health Authority confirmed a resident’s Bubonic Plague infection, describing its severity, symptoms, progression, treatment, vaccine, and history.

Oregon Health Authority Infects Resident with Bubonic Plague

The Oregon Health Authority confirmed that a resident infected with the Bubonic Plague last week, a rare occurrence due to its severity. The bacterium, Yersinia pestis, is likely transmitted to the patient by a cat in the patient’s household. The Oregon Health Authority issued a warning to those in close contact with the cat to prevent further spread of the disease.

The Bubonic Plague was responsible for the Black Death pandemic, which occurred in the mid-1300s and resulted in over 50% of Europe’s population dying. Although the bacterial infection is rare and can be treated with antibiotics, some individuals still contract it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that human plague infections continue to occur in rural areas in the western United States, but more cases occur in parts of Africa and Asia.

The CDC estimated that there were 496 cases of the plague in the western and southwestern regions of the United States between 1970 and 2020. The number of cases reported in the United States can range from one to seventeen per year, with an average of seven cases each year. Although the disease can affect people of any age, the majority of those diagnosed are between the ages of 12 and 45.

About Plague:

The plague bacterium, Yersinia pestis, is responsible for the severe disease known as the plague. It affects mammals, including humans, and can be contracted through bites from fleas carrying the plague bacterium or handling an infected animal. The plague was a devastating disease that caused millions of deaths in Europe during the Middle Ages. The use of antibiotics has been proven effective in treating the plague, but delayed treatment can lead to severe illness or even death. Currently, plague infections are primarily found in rural areas of the western United States, with a higher number of cases in certain regions of Africa and Asia.

The plague is extremely rare, with most cases observed in a limited number of countries worldwide. In the United States, the plague affects a small number of people annually, primarily in rural or semi-rural areas. Antibiotics are generally successful in treating the plague, but the disease can be fatal if not treated.

The United States government has developed plans and treatments to prepare for the possibility of the plague being used as a bioweapon.

Plague Disease in Humans:

The plague is a highly infectious disease that can be transmitted from person to person through various methods. One common way is through the bite of a flea, which is likely to originate from domesticated or wild animals. Another possibility is through direct contact with the tissues of an animal infected with the plague, such as handling an infected animal by skinning or handling it in any way.

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The pneumonic plague can also spread from humans to other groups of people, as well as from animals to humans. Small droplets produced during coughing or sneezing can be used to spread bacteria through the air, potentially causing further spread. A person can become infected with the virus through inhaling droplets or coming into contact with expelled mucus through coughing. Both methods are considered potential ways of infection.

In conclusion, the plague is a highly infectious disease that can be transmitted through various methods, including bites, direct contact with infected animals, and inhalation of droplets or contact with expelled mucus.

Bubonic Plague Symptoms and Progression:

The Bubonic Plague is a deadly disease that causes fever, headache, and chills in infected individuals. They often have swollen and painful lymph nodes, known as “classic buboes,” which are often depicted in medieval paintings of infection. These swellings are close to the site of the bacteria’s entry into the human body, where they multiply and can spread throughout the bloodstream if not treated.

If not diagnosed early, Bubonic Plague can progress to septicemic plague (bloodstream infection) and/or pneumonic plague (lung infection). Symptoms typically begin two to eight days after exposure to an infected animal or flea. Treatment is more difficult for these forms of plague due to their severity. Without specific antibiotic therapy, all forms of plague can rapidly progress to death.

Plague Treatment and Vaccines:

The plague is a severe disease that can cause severe health issues, including respiratory infections, gastrointestinal issues, and even death. Bubonic Plague: Treatment involves extracting blood and other samples from a patient’s bubo, administering antibiotics as part of standard treatment, and considering medical isolation if the plague is present.

Bubonic Plague: However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) states that early diagnosis and treatment can save lives. Despite improvements in sanitation, living conditions, and healthcare, the plague remains a significant threat. Antibiotic resistance is a potential issue in the future, as a plague strain resistant to the front-line antibiotics used for treatment would pose significant clinical challenges if transmitted through the human population.

History of Plague:

Bubonic Plague: Plague has been a significant human health issue for millennia, with three distinct pandemics identified. The first Justinian plague pandemic likely began in India and reached Constantinople in 541-542 CE. From 541 to 750 CE, 18 Mediterranean plague waves hit Persia and Ireland. The second Black Death pandemic, which began in 1347, saw European plague victims dying within a week. Germany, Switzerland, and Austria contracted the plague after France and Spain in 1348. The plague devastated London, Scandinavia, and northern England by 1350.

Bubonic Plague: The fourth-century Bubonic Plague changed European society and economies, causing farming and craft labor shortages. European Christians accused Jews of poisoning Black Death wells, leading to massacres and violence. The miasma theory, or poisoned air, was proposed by Hippocrates and Galen to explain disease transmission. Public baths were closed, cats were killed, and victims’ clothes and belongings burned as transmission agents. Plague doctors wore a long cape, mask, and bill-like portion over the mouth and nose with aromatic substances to block out the smell of decaying corpses.

The third plague pandemic began in 1855 and spread to Taiwan, killing 70,000 in Canton in 1894 before reaching Hong Kong. It sailed to Japan, India, Australia, North, and South America between 1910 and 1920. India lost 12 million plague victims between 1898 and 1918. After 1950, European plague cases dropped, but isolated outbreaks occur worldwide, with over 200 million people killed.

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