Springfield (KMTR) – Veterinarians in the Willamette are warning people to watch out for fleas, after a Central Oregon man likely contracted bubonic plague from a cat.
Although the plague may seem like an ancient disease, it is still with us.
Veterinarians say the plague mostly lives in parasites. Doctors believe the man in this case, was bitten by a cat that had fleas. Flea populations rise this time of year and since it's almost summer, more animals are going outside into tall grass where fleas flourish.
Although the case of bubonic plague is in Bend, Dr. Matthew Fricke of McKenzie Animal Hospital says animals west of the cascades could be carriers as well.
“The things that we don't realize is that they can oftentimes carry diseases that can make people very sick,” said Dr. Fricke. “So … there's not a very good excuse for not having good flea control on your pet. And we have effective flea control; you’ve just got to use it. If you can keep fleas off your pets, you keep your family healthier.”
The man in Bend who contracted the plague may die from the infection. Bubonic plague, which can affect lymph nodes, blood or lungs, can be treated with antibiotics if it's caught early enough.