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Woman Contracts The Plague From Stray Cat

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An Oregon woman is in recovery after contracting the plague -- yes, the plague -- from a stray cat over the summer.

The unidentified Good Samaritan came into contact with the afflicted kitty when she and a friend tried to save its life. The two discovered the feline choking on a mouse, but were bitten as they tried unsuccessfully to clear its airway.

Luckily the woman sought medical treatment immediately after suffering a fever, chills and pain in the lymph nodes -- early symptoms of the disease. She was treated with antibiotics and has since recovered.

Although doctors suspected the source of her illness, it wasn't officially diagnosed as the plague until last week after lab results from the federal Centers for Disease Control confirmed it was the extremely rare affliction.

"We got to her just in time," said Karen Yeargain of the Crook County Health Department. "If this hadn't happened, we would have had another critically ill person on our hands."

The plague killed millions of people in the Middle Ages, but now there are only approximately seven cases a year in the United States.

3 Other Diseases You Can Catch From Cats

Toxoplasmosis: Toxoplasmosis is caused by the microscopic parasite, Toxoplasma gondii. This parasite can infect almost all mammals including humans, but domestic cats and their wild relatives are the definitive hosts (i.e. the parasite requires a cat to complete its life cycle). For more information, click here

Cat Scratch Disease: Cat Scratch Disease (CSD) is also called Cat Scratch Fever and benign lymphoreticulosis. While CSD is found all over the world, it is an uncommon disease. One estimate by the Centers for Disease Control found that there were 2.5 cases of CSD per 100,000 people per year in the United States. While multiple cases of CSD in one household can occur, this situation is rare. A study in Florida found that more than one member of a family contracted CSD only 3.5% of the time. The majority of individuals who contract CSD are under the age of 17, and are usually under the age of 12. For more information, click here

Intestinal worms: Intestinal worms in cats and dogs are parasites that live in the digestive tract, causing damage and robbing your pet of needed nutrients. The amount of damage they cause depends on both the type and number of worms involved. In general, the adult worms that infect dogs and cats cannot live in people, but in rare cases immature forms of these parasites can migrate through human tissue, causing inflammation and potentially serious problems, especially in delicate tissues like the brain or eye. The four common intestinal worms of dogs and cats are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. For more information, click here
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