A teenage girl from Oregon has been hospitalized after contracting the plague, state health officials said last night. She may have caught the disease after being bitten by a flea during a hunting trip two weeks ago, ABC News reports.
The girl started to feel sick around Oct. 21, after returning from the trip in Morrow County, a statement from the Oregon Health Authority said.
"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,” Emilio DeBess, a state public health veterinarian who works in disease prevention said in the statement. “Fortunately, plague remains a rare disease, but people need to take appropriate precautions with wildlife and their pets to keep it that way."
Authorities said people should stay away from wild rodents—that includes not feeding animals like squirrels and chipmunks and wood rats. They also said pets should be kept away from fleas and wild animals.
Eight human cases of the plague have been diagnosed in Oregon since 1995, according to the health department. They said none of those cases resulted in death because the disease is treatable with antibiotics if it's diagnosed early. In the 14th century, before modern antibiotics were invented, the plague wiped out 60% of Europe's population.