BEND, OR -- A Crook County teen is in Intensive Care at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, battling Bubonic Plague. It's believed the girl was bit by a flea during a hunting trip near Heppner in Morrow County, a couple of weeks ago. Dr. Emilio Debess, state Public Health Veterinarian, tells KBND, "She went out on a hunting trip and a couple days later she noticed she was bitten by an insect of some sort. And, about three or four days later she became ill and did develop enlarged lymph nodes."
Bubonic Plague is an infectious bacterial disease carried by squirrels, chipmunks and other wild rodents and their fleas. Dr. Debess says the teen "did report finding a dead either squirrel or chipmunk, that potentially could have been a source of the infection. We do ask people, as they're out there hunting in the woods, not to handle wild rodents if they're ill or sick; just leave them alone."
The disease is rare, but is treatable with antibiotics if caught early. Since 1995, Oregon has seen eight human cases and no one has died from it. The Crook County teen is expected to make a full recovery.