An outdoor cat in Johnson County, Wyoming, was infected with the bubonic plague, according to health officials.
Laboratory testing done at the University of Wyoming confirmed the cat was infected. So far, there’s no evidence that humans have contracted the plague.
This cat is the third plague-infected cat found in Wyoming over the past six months. Only six human cases of bubonic plague have been reported in Wyoming since 1978, and the last one was investigated in 2008.
Health officials said that, on average, there are seven cases of human bubonic plague each year in the United States.
“Plague is a serious bacterial infection that can be deadly for pets and people if not treated as soon as possible with antibiotics,” said Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with the Department of Health. “The disease can be passed to humans from ill animals and by fleas coming from infected animals. We are letting people know of the potential threat in the cat’s home area as well as across the state.”
Wyoming health officials released the following information:
Precautions to take:
- Use insect repellent.
- Use flea repellent on pets.
- Dispose of rodents that pets bring home.
- Avoid unnecessary exposure to rodents.
- Avoid contact with dead rodents.
- Avoid areas where rodents unexpectedly died.
Plague symptoms in pets:
- Enlarged lymph glands.
- Swelling in neck, face or around ears.
- Lack of energy.
Plague symptoms in people:
- Swollen lymph glands.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Abdominal pain.