Following the recent plague deaths of two Elmore County, Idaho cats, the Central District Health Department has reported a third cat that tested positive for the agent of plague, Yersinia pestis, in Ada County.
Unlike the Elmore County cats, this current case is being treated and is recovering. Plague has also been reported in a Clark County cat.
In addition, a number of ground squirrels have been found in dead and tested positive for plague.
Health officials note that cats are particularly susceptible to plague and can transmit plague to humans through direct contact with exudates or respiratory droplets and by bites or scratches. Plague progresses rapidly, particularly in cats.
Both cats and dogs can transport infected fleas or animal carcasses into the home, leading to plague transmission to people.
Symptoms of plague in humans include sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, and weakness. In most cases there is a painful swelling of the lymph node in the groin, armpit or neck areas.
Since 1940, only five human cases of plague have been reported in Idaho.
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