Oregon teen in hospital for plague

By Shawn Price  |  Oct. 30, 2015 at 4:25 AM
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BEND, Ore., Oct. 30 (UPI) -- A teen in Oregon has been diagnosed with the bubonic plague, the Oregon Health Authority said Tuesday.

"The girl is believed to have acquired the disease from a flea bite during a hunting trip near Heppner in Morrow County that started on Oct. 16," OHA spokesman Jonathan Modie said in a news release.

The teen became ill a few day later, was hospitalized, and is recovering in the intensive care unit, he said. No other cases have been reported.

The bubonic plague is an infectious disease humans can acquire if bitten by the fleas of infected animals like squirrels, chipmunks or wild rodents. It is treatable with antibiotics if caught early. OHA reports that eight human cases have been reported in Oregon since 1995, but none were fatal.

"Many people think of the plague as a disease of the past, but it's still very much present in our environment, particularly among wildlife," said state public health veterinarian Emilio DeBess.

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