In Evergreen, Colorado, a domestic cat has tested positive for bubonic plague, reports local 9News. According to Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH), cases of bubonic plague are actually a bit common for this area. Although, this cat is the first case for the year.
Jim Rada, director of Environmental Health Services at JCPH, said in a public release, “While plague is a serious disease, and cases of the animal-borne disease in household pets is never something we like to see, it is normal and expected for some animals to contract plague in Jefferson County each year.”
Their conclusion is that the feline likely contracted the plague from an infected rodent, potentially a rat or similar critter. Cats do like going after these animals.
While any mention of “plague” is frightening, there are plenty of ways to prevent infection.
What Is Bubonic Plague, Exactly?
On 10/29, a domestic cat in Evergreen tested positive for bubonic plague. The cat is the first case of plague in the county this year. While plague is a serious disease, it is normal & expected for some animals to contract plague each year. Read more: https://t.co/iNe6Pl1IHM
— Jefferson County Public Health (@JeffcoPH) November 8, 2021
Historically, the bubonic plague has wreaked havoc, but it’s pretty well in hand these days, as far as treatability.
“The good news is that modern antibiotics are effective against plague, and as long as it is treated promptly, severe complications, illness, or death can be avoided,” said Rada.
It is still an infectious disease, however, and can be contracted by humans and our feline companions without proper precaution. Fleas, for instance, can carry the disease from a pet to a human.
Symptoms in humans occur two to seven days after exposure. Telltale signs include swollen lymph nodes, extreme nausea, chills, and a sudden onset of high fever.
Safeguard Yourself & Your Felines
First and foremost, know the area that you live in. Checking with the local health department about the frequency of infectious diseases from local wildlife can set the correct tone for precautions.
If your area has a high level of cases compared to others, then being extra strict about not letting your feline wander might be best. Indoor cats do tend to be healthier, overall.
Keeping up with flea control is also important since fleas can carry and transmit the disease. It’s also important to maintain a clean and healthy home for your feline that won’t attract rodents.
Then, of course, there are a few common-sense items: don’t feed wild animals, avoid contact with sick or deceased rodents, check streams for dead wildlife before allowing a pet to drink from it, and so on.
Finally, if you do suspect that you or your feline may have contracted something, do not wait to seek out medical care and proper testing.
Does your area have any recorded cases of bubonic plague in cats? Were you aware that these cases still appear in certain places? Let us know in the comments below.