Teenage girl in Oregon hospitalized with bubonic plague

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Oregon Teen Diagnosed With Bubonic Plague After Hunting Trip

(Reuters) - A teenage girl in Oregon has tested positive for bubonic plague, state health officials said on Thursday.

The girl was believed to have been infected by a flea bite during a hunting trip earlier this month, according to the Oregon Health Authority's Public Health Division and the Crook County Public Health Department.

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The teen was in an intensive care unit at a hospital in Bend, in central Oregon, health officials said. Her condition was not known.

There were no other known infections in the state from the centuries-old scourge, health officials said.

"Many people think of the plague as a disease of the past, but it's still very much present in our environment, particularly among wildlife," said Emilio DeBess, Oregon state public health veterinarian in the Public Health Division.

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"Fortunately, plague remains a rare disease, but people need to take appropriate precautions with wildlife and their pets to keep it that way," he said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the plague was introduced to the United States in 1900 by rat-infested steamships that had sailed from affected areas, mostly in Asia.

In recent years, less than 10 human plague cases have been reported in the U.S. each year, the agency said.

Early symptoms of plague include high fever, chills, nausea, weakness and swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpit or groin.

See findings and depictions of the bubonic plague through history:

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Bubonic plague through history
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Teenage girl in Oregon hospitalized with bubonic plague
Yersinia Pestis Bacteria Causes Bubonic Plague In Animals And Humans And Usually Is Transmitted By The Bite Of Infected Rat Fleas. Illustration Based On Light Microscope Image At 1000X. (Photo By BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 2003: Yersinia pestis (formerly Pasteurella pestis), the bubonic plague bacterium, seen under a microscope. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 12: This European amulet, which features a representation of the Virgin Mary on the obverse, would have been worn as protection against catching the plague. The plague is caused by infection with Yersinia Pestis, carried by fleas that infest rodents which then bite humans. The plague is thought to have originated from the Eastern provinces of China, and travelled along the well established Silk Road through the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean, before reaching southern Italy in 1347 and the rest of Europe soon after. Also known as the bubonic plague and the Black Death, it killed one third of the population of Europe. Outbreaks of the plague continued to occur in Europe until the 17th century. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 21: This pomander, with a rat engraved on its side, contains six compartments and has a chain for suspension. It was probably carried as a protector against the plague. Pomanders were popular in Medieval times. They contained sweet-smelling herbs and spices and were believed to ward off infections carried by foul-smelling air. Regular outbreaks of bubonic plague, a disease transmitted from rats to people by fleas, occurred in Medieval times and continued until the 17th century. The most notable plague outbreak was the Black Death of the 14th century, which originated in China, and is estimated to have killed a third of the population of Europe. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 04: A metal cautery for cauterising plague buboes (a swollen inflamed lymph node in the armpit, neck or groin). Cautery irons were heated until red-hot like branding irons, and applied to burn and seal bleeding areas, such as buboes, skin ulcers or amputation stumps. The long handle allowed the physician to keep his distance from the patient. Regular outbreaks of bubonic plague, a disease transmitted from rats to people by fleas, occurred in Medieval times and continued until the 17th century. The most notable plague outbreak was the Black Death of the 14th century, which originated in China, and is estimated to have killed a third of the population of Europe. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
Early Nineteenth Century engraving of a black rat similar to that which carried the fleas that spread the bubonic plague in crowded urban areas during the Great Plague of London, an outbreak which killed some 70, 000 persons. (Photo by Time Life Pictures/Mansell/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Plague (19th century depiction), Bubonic plague is a zoonotic disease, circulating mainly among small rodents and their fleas. (Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG/Getty Images)
Plague (19th century depiction), Bubonic plague is a zoonotic disease, circulating mainly among small rodents and their fleas. (Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG/Getty Images)
Nineteenth Century English engraving of ghastly scene of Death Cart empyting corpses into a mass grave or Plague Pit at night during the Great Plague of London, an outbreak of bubonic plague which killed some 70, 000 persons. (Photo by Time Life Pictures/Mansell/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Victims of the Black Death being buried at Tournai, then part of the Netherlands, 1349. The Black Death was thought to have been an outbreak of the bubonic plague, which killed up to half the population of Europe. From the 'Chronique et Annales de Gilles le Muisit'. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
People praying for relief from the bubonic plague, circa 1350. Original Artwork: Designed by E Corbould, lithograph by F Howard. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Late Eighteenth Century (?) English engraving of grief stricken mourners among the dead and dying in the streets of London during the Great Plague, an outbreak of bubonic plague which killed some 70, 000 persons. (Photo by Time Life Pictures/Mansell/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
A plague hospital in Vienna during the Great Plague of Vienna, Austria, 1679. The disease, thought to be the bubonic plague, claimed around 76,000 lives. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Filling a mass grave at night during the Plague of London, c 1665. Showing a group of men with torches in a churchyard, preparing to empty the contents of a covered cart into an open grave. The Plague, also known as the Black Death, was a disease caused by Yersinia Pestis, an infection carried by fleas living as parasites on rats. The Plague hit London in late 1664, having ravaged Holland the previous year, and killed around 100,000 people in and around the city. The dead were collected at night and thrown into common burial graves. (Photo by Oxford Science Archive/Print Collector/Getty Images)
An inscription on a wall of Ashwell Church, Hertfordshire, written during the epidemic of plague that swept through Europe in the middle of the 14th century known as the Black Death, May 1979. (Photo By RDImages/Epics/Getty Images)
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