During the attempt to save the mouse, the cat lashed out at the man biting him on the hand. The man soon got sick and now is suffering from the extremely rare, but very deadly “black plague”. He is thought to be suffering from septicemic plague – meaning that his bloodstream is infected with the bacteria and it is spreading. He has all of the symptoms of the plauge, stomach pain, dying tissue and bleeding from the nose, mouth and … uh… anus.
Less than 10 people a year contract the plague in the USA, and globally, less than 3000. But the plague is famous for its sweep across through Europe in the 14th century when it killed as many as 75 million people. The bacterium, Yersinia pestis, is carried by rodents and spread through contact with them, but doctors are not sure if it was the bite from the cat or contact with the mouse that infected the man. Today it can be treated with antibiotics, but it still kills one of seven people who contract it.
“Taking a mouse out of a cat’s mouth is probably not a good idea,” Emilio DeBess, Oregon’s public health veterinarian, told the local media.
- Oregon health officials investigating probable case of human plague (examiner.com)
- Man likely sickened by plague in critical condition in Bend (oregonlive.com)
- Oregon man diagnosed with “black death” plague (cbsnews.com)