Black Plague: Oregon Man Shows Symptoms After Cat Bite

By: WebProNews Staff - June 14, 2012

Black plague, it would seem, is alive and well in Oregon. According to CBS News, authorities believe that a man contracted the infamously deadly plague from a stray cat while attempting to dislodge a mouse from its mouth. During the exchange, the cat decided to take a chunk out of the poor guy, effectively transferring the disease to his blood stream. The altercation between man and beast took place on June 2nd, after which the man experienced a severe fever. By June 8th, he was very sick, prompting a visit to a nearby hospital.

Presently, he’s being treated at St. Charles Medical Center-Bend, where he is listed in critical condition. This marks the fifth recorded case of the black plague in Oregon since 1995.

The cat, meanwhile, has since passed away. Its body is currently being studied by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. The disease is often transmitted by fleas who are infected with the Yersinia pestis bacteria. Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, and extreme exhaustion, as well as abdominal pain and bleeding from the mouth, nose or rectum. In short, this isn’t something you’d want to contract.

“This can be a serious illness,” said Emilio DeBess explained to the Oregonian. “But it is treatable with antibiotics, and it’s also preventable.” If left untreated, however, the bacteria can multiply in the bloodstream, which then allows it to spread throughout the body. Although a vaccine exists, it is currently unavailable for purchase in the United States.

Surprisingly, 10 to 20 people are diagnosed with the black plague every year in the U.S. Globally, there are reportedly 1,000 to 3,000 cases a year. In the mid-14th century, the black plague effectively wiped out half of Europe’s population.

WebProNews Staff

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  • Megan

    Do we know the cat was the carrier? Maybe it was the mouse. The cat had just been gnawing on it. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a cat carrying the plague.

    • PatConley

      In fact, I read that cats helped eliminate infected rats during the original Black Plague. So it would seem that the cats were not affected by the plague at that time. It will be interesting to hear what the CDC comes up with.

  • CarlaFW

    The Black Plague was traditionally spread by fleas which had bitten infected rats. Maybe it wasn’t a mouse but a rat the man was trying to pry out of the cat’s mouth, and perhaps he got the disease from the fleas infesting the cat – what with it being a stray and all. Anyway, who the heck tries to stop a stray cat from killing and eating a mouse?

    • jessica

      not many people thats why im thinking it wasnt a stray cat. it was probably his cat and the rat/mouse was infected which in return infected either the cat or the man. either way, which doesnt really matter at this point, the man and his family need prayers! i think the real story behind this is if you have a fever for more than 3 days GO TO THE DAMN HOSPITAL! dont wait!! 7 days?! really? cmon…

  • Overseer5

    Why are they calling it a mouse? It was probably a RAT.

    • George

      and why are they calling it a cat…it was probably a monkey

  • Vittorio

    What kind of idiot other than a tree-hugging pot-smoking Oregonian would try to take a mouse away from a cat? Cats have self esteem too.

  • Stacy Smith

    My understanding of the history of Black Plague descimating Europe way back is this: 1) Witch hunts had become commonplace. 2) Cats were associated with witches. 3) Cats were killed almost to extinction in urban areas. 4)Rats proliferated and their fleas spread The Black Plague. I HATE THIS HEADLINE. IT GIVES CAT HATERS AN EXCUSE FOR IGNORANCE – AN EXCUSE TO KILL THIS VERY EFFICIENT VERMIN CONTROL – THE COMMON CAT. Anyway, what an idiot to attempt to steal a rodent from a feral cat!

    • Kim

      Glad to see stupidity is NOT running rampant! YES it is the RODENTS who carry this disease. For anyone questioning that, READ YOUR HISTORY. It was the rats who spread many diseases, including Black Plague.

  • Abbie

    It has to come from the rat/mouse. The cause of the black plauque was because of rats. I learned about it in Western World History. I dont think the cat carried it in the first place. The rat gave it to the cat, then the cat gave it to the person. OR the rat gave it to the person. However it happened I know its the rat that did it!

  • momofcats

    I think this a very misleading headline. I think the carrier was the mouse, not the cat. Remember, it was mice who transmitted Hanta Virus in the southwest back in the 90’s. FLEAS ON MICE! This just makes people unfairly blame and hate cats.

  • Amy Miller

    Well, last I heard, rats and the fleas that infest said rats are the carriers of bubonic plague. However, the cat could have gotten the plague and passed it on, as bubonic plague can infect more than just humans. Sounds to me that the man should have had antibiotics well before he went to the doctor, so he’s an idiot for more than just trying to take the poor cat’s meal from it. Considering the cat is dead, it possibly had bubonic plague so could pass the disease on.

  • Susan Woo

    Yes – it was the mouse, not the cat,
    who spread the plague. So get the
    cat out of the headline, bozos.

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  • carol

    Cats are the best friend during a plaque outbreak. Yes they can catch it from the fleas on mice but not before they killed several mice.If they get the mice population under control the plaque will go away. So quit making the cats out to be the bad guy. That’s like throwing the mold out ofthe petrite dish!

    • Kwpgrooming

      Exactly. They don’t even know he got it from the cat. The cat had a bloody mouse in his mouth when he was bit. He sure doesn’t blame the cat.

  • Kwpgrooming

    You damn journalist need to get facts before you go write articles. First of all it wasn’t a stray cat. Second he was trying to save the cat because it was choking on the mouse which is why the cat is dead. The cat didn’t decide to take a chunk out of him. Disgusting how you people will print anything just to get a story. You want a real story do one about how the VA refused him medical attention. They gave him an appointment for the 15 which is tomorrow, and he may no longer be with us by then. Not to mention the urgent care clinic that didn’t take the tie to diagnose him correctly and prescribe the appropriate antibiotics. He would have been fine if people would have done their freaking jobs. I think you need a new one because you did a half A$$ job on this article, and his family does not appreciate it. Thanks for making this difficult time harder.

    • Kwpgrooming

      By the way this man is my father that all you jerks are bashing.

      • ae

        the media is so twisted. Our thoughts and prayers are with you!! Go after these idiots!

      • Laurie

        My heart and my prayers go out to you and your family.

      • katahdin

        Thank you for remind everyone that for every tragedy, there is a family that is affected by all the insensitive comments. I certainly hope your father is getting better. So sorry that the medical community failed to act on his behalf and shame on the VA for “blowing him off”. So much for serving your country and being taken care of. Jeesh!

      • ted

        Im sorry to say but this but,the media does’nt care about your father,or the actual facts,or the VA hospital that refused him,that would’nt be juicy enough to sell,or get hits.Now a rabid stray cat that bites a man,gives him the black plague,cat dies,then the man is in critical condition…….it’s got all the elements of fear…thats what they wanted out of this article.Fear sells,reality does’nt.Thanks for setting the record straight and I hope your father gets better very soon,I truly do.

      • Dorothy

        @Kwpgrooming. And I’m the Queen of England.

        • Kwpgrooming

          Fuck off. I don’t give a crap if you believe me. Karma is a bitch.

    • Let it go

      With all due respect, if this is such a difficult time for your family, why are you spending it commenting on articles instead of actually being with your family? Second, if you have such a serious issue with the article, find a way to contact the author or site directly (you can use the “contact us” link at the bottom). But comments are rarely noticed. Third, this is not considered some go news source such as CNN. You’re likely to find more errors that way. So take care of what is REALLY important. Take issue with the people who really screwed it up. But wasting your time on an article? Not worth it.

      • misty

        you obviously are an idiot. Im sure the person is with his family. After learning about the article and how the public has been mislead by the ignorance and greed of the media they wanted to inform the public of the truth. I applaud them for taking time to set the story straight. My son when he was 9 almost died from the black plague and how he contracted it was never determined. In these cases it is important for the media to be truthful so that the public is well informed and such deadly events such as what took place in the dark ages doesnt happen again.

      • Kwpgrooming

        I emailed the author twice but obviously he didn’t care. All he news stories just copied the wrong information from each other. By the way there is lots of time to comment on this since he is in a coma. Means a lot of sitting and waiting. You have to do something to keep you busy.

  • Renee

    For God’s Sakes, people, the cat caught the Black Plague from some mouse/rat it ate and when he bit the man it was transmitted. Nobody’s blaming the Cat!!!

    • J Denman

      This situation is a terrible tragedy. I pray the man survives.

      If plague is being carried by the fleas that infest mice, rats and other rodents in Oregon (or other areas), ALL cats that are allowed to run loose outdoors (rather than staying indoors with a litter box, as cats can be content to do if their owners don’t let them go outside)are at risk.

      If cats are at risk, humans who come in contact with them are also at risk, including people who don’t have cats. Cats are going to chase and catch mice/rats if they have a chance to do so. The best option is to keep cats indoors all the time and keep your home rodent-free by using an exterminator, not a “mouser” cat.

      This situation could become a major public health safety risk. I hope the CDC is making it a priority. Are there recorded cases of the plague in other U.S. states in modern times?

      • J Denman

        The CDC website states:

        The last rat-borne epidemic in the United States occurred in Los Angeles in 1924-25. Since then, all human plague cases in the U.S. have been sporadic cases acquired from wild rodents or their fleas or from direct contact with plague-infected animals.

        Domestic cats (and sometimes dogs) are readily infected by fleas or from eating infected wild rodents. Cats may serve as a source of infection to persons exposed to them. Pets may also bring plague-infected fleas into the home.

        Folks…This is a very good reason to prevent all domestic pets from gaining access to rodents of any type, including squirrels. Dogs can be walked on leash. Cats that won’t allow owners to leash them should be kept indoors with a litter box. The adage, “Better safe than sorry”, is all too true.

        • landofenchantment

          ever hear of Hanta Virus?

          • jessica

            when the plague hit back in the 1400s, obviously there were no treatments for the disease. thats why so many people died. now-a-days, this “plague” is treatable, like the article stated, with antibiotics. ANY and ALL bacterium multiplys in the blood and if left untreated, can cause seriousness such as death. id be more worried about the flu than this. you cant treat the flu… calm down ppl, the world is not ending yet!

          • Dragonfly18

            The Hanta Virus is also transmitted by rats. Originally from an area near the Hanta river in Korea, American soldiers contracted it and brought it back with them to the U.S. Since this is a virus, there is no cure.

  • Brian Roberts

    The black plague has been spreading since the 1960’s.

    • J

      You’re an idiot.

      • jana

        I agree. The black plague was in the 1400s. The people that got the disease normally died in that time period. Antibotics are definitiely now a cure, if the treatment is received in a timely fashion. Seriously getting bit and waiting that long to go to the doctor… He’s an idiot also. Who get’s scratched or bit by a stray and waits to go to the doctor, especially one with a dead animal it was eating. 0.0

  • KC

    This is why people don’t want prairie dog colonies in/near populated areas. They carry the black plague due to the fleas that infest them and their burrows.

  • http://Google Lloyd Olson

    Half of Europe wiped out in 1400, has been a day or so ago. Did they trace the problem to a cat ? Let the cat keep the mouse, very simple.

    • Donna

      Actually, you are close. They traced it to rats which also carry fleas. So really, it is from fleas.

  • Jay

    The mouse carried fleas which carried the germ. As the cat attacked the mouse, the fleas on the mouse jumped on, and bit, the cat. The cat was sick, and bit the man. The moral of the story is that cats eat mice. Leave the natural order alone, and do not be bleeding heart enough to try to save every wild animal from being killed/eaten by every other wild animal. To die in a failed attempt to save a mouse that was dead, or dying, anyway is utterly stupid. Dying in a failed attempt to save a choking cat is also utterly stupid. Plague is always with us, but the number of people who die from it each year is usually something like 8 or 12….mostly in rural areas. Most city slickers are not dumb enough to give their lives for the sake of a cat, or mouse.

  • E

    This might be it… This might be how the zombpocalypse will start and spread….

  • brandiE

    I mean no offense to the man, & wasn’t there, so IDK. I do know, never approach strays! The cat could be a mother, making them protective too. I don’t get why he needed to save the dead mouse? It’s dead, & that’s how they eat. If you take food from a wild animal, it won’t be the same as a pet, & either way it can make them hurt you. I’m saddened by dead mice, but know you don’t take it, or touch it. Wild mice can carry a lot of diseases, so they shouldn’t be handled w/bare hands, even w/out it being near an animal.

    • Kacy

      Well said!

    • Kwpgrooming

      For your information he did go immediately. The VA refused him medical treatment twice and the urgent care clinic misdiagnosed him giving the wrong antibiotic. So he did seek treatment 3 times within the first 2 days. People should keep their mouths shut when they don’t know the facts. This wasn’t even a stray cat. It was his cat and he was trying to save it because it was choking on the mouse. Don’t believe everything you read. And the rest of you idiots should realize his family members are reading these hateful comments. Hopefully something like this never happens to any of you or your loved ones.

  • http://yahoo audrey papke

    The disease was derived from the mouse?

    • Kacy

      The plague is carried by fleas and any animal the a carrier flea bites can get it. Once an animal is infected, then it can be transmitted by the bite of that animal.

  • c

    If anyone gets bitten by an animal, that person should seek medical health immediately. He should have gone to hospital June 2 when he got bitten and got a fever instead of waiting 6 days.There’s also a chance of rabies from bites from strays.

    • Kacy

      Absolutely right.

      • Kwpgrooming

        For your information he did go immediately. The VA refused him medical treatment twice and the urgent care clinic misdiagnosed him giving the wrong antibiotic. So he did seek treatment 3 times within the first 2 days. People should keep their mouths shut when they don’t know the facts. This wasn’t even a stray cat. It was his cat and he was trying to save it because it was choking on the mouse. Don’t believe everything you read. And the rest of you idiots should realize his family members are reading these hateful comments. Hopefully something like this never happens to any of you or your loved ones.

  • Jenne

    Is that Sean Bean in the trailer?! I guess we can assume that his character dies, then.

  • TravelingTexan

    Hmm What was the story about the Pied Piper all about?
    Was it cats or rats (rodents) he lured out of the cities with that flute?

    • Kacy

      It was rats. I’ve seen the rats over there and they are bigger than a cat — a cat can catch mice, but it takes a “ratter” (terrier) to get rats.

  • TC

    While I wouldn’t wish the Black Death on anyone, this guy should have known better than to mess with the natural order of life. It’s in a cat’s nature to catch mice–infected with a disease or not. Had he let the cat do what it does naturally, the most that would have happened to him was the discovery of a stray cat carcass when it died from complications of the disease.

    Oh and just to add to the lessons from the plague, the reason the plague hit so hard in europe was because black cats among others were slaughtered wholesale for supposed alliances with the christian devil. As such, had black cats been allowed to live, the black plague might not have been as deadly as it was.

    • Kacy

      Thumbs up.

    • John

      That’s not true…quit spewing your hateful bigotry.

  • Kacy

    Why in the world was the guy trying to take away a mouse from the mouth of a stray cat? That’s like trying to take away a plateful of steak from a hungry working man. Mean and stupid. One of the main reasons for breeding cats in Europe was to control the mouse (and rat) population and for good reason!

    • Kacy

      Well, I should have said, because a cat of course can get baby rats, not adult ones.

  • fred

    I am a vet and this is the second time i have seen someone screwed (life ruined) by the va. Shame on them

  • John

    Idiot takes food out of cats mouth…Sounds like liberal!

    • Jack Whalen

      Really? Man contracts the most deadly disease known to man and you need to make a political joke out of it? Be careful, my friend. I am convinced the Gods now read blogs…

  • John

    Idiot takes food out of a cats mouth…sounds like a pot-smoking liberal!

  • val

    This is a shame for US. Look at Plague world map.
    Has US become a third world country!
    Since Reagan this country is in a BIG DECLINE!

  • val

    too much white trash! Unwashed inbreeds!!

  • Jack Whalen

    Let’s get real. Tens of thousands of people in the United States get bit by animals every year. Most bites occur within or near the victim’s domicile. The perpetrators are usually common house pets. A bite from any domestic animal – especially a cat – can lead to serious infections from scores of different diseases. It is infinitesimally rare for any bite sufferer to contract Yersinia Pestis (aka Bubonic Plague or Black Death). The most common life-threatening disease from animal bites is rabies. Needless to say, ANY bite requires immediate attention by a medical physician.

    As for anyone who tried to turn this blog into a political comment, you are the true idiots.

  • Chet

    Melinda Jane Kellogg:Stalker!