Oregon Woman Contracts Bubonic Plague Trying To Help Stray Cat Choking On A Rat

An Oregon woman contacted the bubonic plague from a stray cat that was choking on a rodent. She tried to save the feline from a sure and sudden death, but was bitten in the process. Early detection is credited with saving the unnamed woman’s life, according to the Daily Mail.

Four days after the cat bite, the animal lover began showing symptoms of the disease which is credited with killing millions of people during the Middle Ages. The woman started to feel pain in her lymph nodes, and had both chills and a fever. After being treated with antibiotics at a Portland area hospital, she made a full recovery.

The unnamed bubonic plague patient was reportedly bitten about the time as her friend, Paul Gaylord, made national headlines for contracting the same rare disease, according to KATU News. He spent a month on life support and had multiples fingers and toes amputated after they turned black from the deadly infection. The stray cat which bit the woman had been adopted by Gaylord. Doctors feel the rat that was choking the pet had been infected by disease-carrying fleas.

Crook County Health Department representative Karen Yeargain had this to say about the medical case:

“We got to her just in time. If this hadn’t happened, we would have had another critically ill person on our hands.”

The plague is spread through infected flea bites or via direct contact with an infected person or animal. Approximately seven cases of the nearly extinct disease crop up in the United States each year. Earlier this month Sierra Jane Downing, 7, contracted the bubonic plague disease while on a camping trip in Colorado.