Thursday, June 14, 2012

Black Death Arrives in Oregon

A man in Oregon has contracted the plague after being bitten by an infected cat.

The unnamed man in his 50s was bitten by the stray animal while trying to remove a mouse from its jaws.

He later developed swollen lymph nodes, a symptom of the bubonic plague, followed by the septicemic form of the disease that involves bleeding from the mouth, nose, or rectum (an image that Oregon State Tourist Board probably won't be using in their summer advertising campaign).

The man, who is currently in critical condition at at St. Charles Medical Centre in Bend, Oregon, is the state's fifth plague victim in the past 20 years.

He'll presumably be pleased to know that the disease can be cured by modern antibiotics.

It affects around 10 to 20 people in the United States each year and has only caused four fatalities since 1934.

In the Middle Ages, however, victims weren't quite so lucky. Known as the Black Death, the plague wiped out up to 60 percent of Europe's population in the 14th century.

It was brought to Europe by rat-borne fleas on merchant ships traveling from China or central Asia.

Click here for story

"Who, me?"

Photo credit: REX

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