Bubonic Plague Case Reported In Portland Oregon

Bubonic plague is transmitted by fleas that are contaminated with the Yersinia pestis bacterium. It can spread from the fleas to humans and mammals. This plague has a history in Europe, where millions of victims died during the Middle Ages.

Of course the disease has been contained for many decades, but just today, October 30, 2015, a case involving a teenage girl in Portland, Oregon was revealed.

The girl’s family stated that the victim came in contact with the disease, while on a hunting expedition in Morrow County, which is near Heppner, Oregon. The trip began on October 16, but the onset of symptoms did not appear until five days later. She is now hospitalized in the intensive care unit and her condition is currently unknown.


Bubonic Plague Diagnosis

Diagnosis is often made through a physical examination, in which reveals swollen lymph nodes (bubo). There are three different types of bubonic plague including septicemic, bubonic, and pneumonic. Diagnostic serum testing and a biopsy of the edematous gland is often completed and submitted to the laboratory.


Signs and Symptoms

Each type of plague will present with different symptoms of the disease. The onset of symptoms of bubonic plague are fever, muscle aches/pains, body chills, tachycardia, hypotension, fatigue, edematous/painful lymph nodes nearest to the flea bite, and headache.

If bubonic is not treated, it will lead to septicemic plague, which is more serious and can cause life threatening situation. Symptoms linked to septicemic includes necrotic or gangrene skin tissue (toes, fingers, nose), which is often caused by poor circulation, shock, and bleeding into the skin.

Pneumonic plague often presents with upper and lower respiratory-like symptoms including dyspnea, angina, dry or productive cough with bloody/watery mucous. Pneumonic plague revolves from untreated septicemic plague. It is important to note that septicemic is the only type of bubonic plague that is capable of spreading from person to person through contaminated droplets.

Bubonic Plague Incubation Period

The incubation period begins at the time of contamination and ends at onset of symptoms. The bubonic plague incubation period ranges anywhere from 2-6 days.


Bubonic Plague Treatment

If treatment is rendered early into the disease process, there is a higher chance of survival and a full recovery. It can be treated effectively with the appropriate antibiotic therapy.

There is currently no bubonic plague vaccine available in the United States, but researchers are working diligently to develop an effective vaccine that is capable of preventing the spread of this contagious disease.


Bubonic Plague Prevention


The best prevention is to eradicate rodents, parasites, and other insects in and around your home. If you currently live or plan on visiting the Western United States, you should definitely pack your insect repellents, which contain DEET or permethrin. Something like Sawyer Products Premium Permethrin is recommended.


Bubonic Plague Transmission

Transmission can occur from flea bites, infectious droplets, and contaminated infected animal body fluids. This plague has been known to affect a variety of wild animals including prairie dogs, squirrels, rats, mice, rabbits, and chipmunks.