The news of a third cat having tested positive for the bubonic plague, according to lab results from the University of Wyoming, has health officials very concerned. All three cats, testing positive for the disease over the last six months, live in the state of Wyoming, and they aren’t the only confirmed cases.
According to health officials the most recent cat reported to be infected was able to roam around outside and was located in the Johnson County area. The other two cats were from Sheridan and Campbell counties. A spokesperson from the Wyoming Department of Health stated that the confirmed to have been infected cat from Johnson County appears to have recovered.
Cats are not the only confirmed cases of the plague in Wyoming, as the last case of an infected human was reported in 2008, actually one of six since 1978. According to the health department, the plague can be passed from animals or the fleas of animals to humans. It is estimated that around seven people a year contract the plague in the United States.
In a statement issued by the Wyoming health department, Dr. Alexia Harrist offered:
“Plague is a serious bacterial infection that can be deadly for pets and people if not treated as soon as possible with antibiotics. We are letting people know of the potential threat in the cat’s home area as well as across the state.”
The health department went on to suggest that individuals avoid areas with rodents and regularly use repellent when in areas with fleas. In both pets and humans, the symptoms of plague may include enlarged or swollen lymph glands, fever, tiredness, headache, chills, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. Humans may also exhibit abdominal pain and difficulty breathing all of which are reported by the Centers for Disease Control.