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And That's Terrible

Man Saves Dead Mouse From Cat, Gets “Black Death”

An unidentified man in Prineville, Oregon has been diagnosed with a blood-borne variation of the “Black Death.” And no, we haven’t been transported to 14th century Europe.

The man in question was bitten while trying to grab a dead mouse from a stray cat’s mouth. Soon after, he developed a fever and checked himself into a hospital, where it was confirmed that he was afflicted by the plague.

“It’s unclear whether the cat or mouse were infected with the plague, but the stray cat has since died, and is now sent to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention for testing. Also, the dozen or more people that were in contact with the unidentified man are receiving preventive antibiotics,” according to Z6Mag. “It can develop into three forms: bubonic plague, which swells lymph nodes across the body; septicemic plague; and pneumonic plague, which affects the lungs. Symptoms of the plague include a swollen lymph gland known as a “bubo,” fever, chills, headache, and extreme exhaustion. The illness usually occurs two to six days after infection.”

According to ABC News, the plague isn’t entirely uncommon: “There is an average of seven human plague cases in the U.S. each year. A map maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that most cases since the 1970s have been in the West, primarily the southwest.” While it hasn’t disappeared outright, it has become increasingly less of a death sentence for infected humans — before World War II the national mortality rate clocked in at 66 percent, whereas now, after the advent of antibiotics, only 16 percent of cases prove to be fatal. Although those statistics seem to bode well for the Prineville man, he remains in critical condition.

This unfortunate story does raise a question: why in the world did he try to grab a dead mouse out of a stray cat’s mouth? “In rural areas, part of the role of cats is to keep the rodent population controlled around our homes and barns,” said a Central Oregon health official. In other words, leave cats alone when they hunt, it’s their job to meddle with infectious rodents. Sadly, for this sick Prineville man, that wasn’t self-evident.

(via ABC News.)

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  • Anonymous

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  • Anonymous

    “im not dead…im getting better!”

  • John Wao

    Please tell me you to come in direct contact with the infected animal in order to be infected because my neighbor’s cat loves to deposit dead mice on my back stoop. Is it trying to kill me?

  • Travis Kyle Fischer

    I saved a baby bunny from a farm cat at my folk’s place last week. Poor thing, the cat wasn’t even eating it. It would just catch it, sit on it, carry it somewhere else, and sit on it some more. I picked up the bunny when the cat decided it was more interested in rubbing on my legs than eating its lunch.

  • Kifre

    The CDC has detailed information about transmission of plague here :

  • Anonymous

    Why was he messing around with 1) dead things and 2) a stray cat? How do they know that the dead cat they found is the same cat? How did he get so close to this stray cat (was he attempting to learn swordsmanship a’ la GoT?) So many questions…and strangely enough- none of them have anything to do with the Plague.

  • Anonymous

    “If someone is trying to kill you, you try to kill them right back.”

    R.I.P Firefly

  • Annika Raaen

    *snicker* I grew up in Bend, about thirty minutes or so from Prineville. They were always the butt of our jokes in high school…because we were assholes. This one will prolly get some traction. I hope he gets better, but yeah…let the cats do their jobs, yo.

  • Anonymous

    First of all this is my father. The dead mouse was long dead and mummified .the cat was choking to death on it and he tried to save it. It was his pet. Journalist are so full of it and do not get their facts straight. And how bout the fact that he was refused treatment by the local VA clinic. When he first got sick. If they had treated this military vet when he showed up he would be fine.

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  • Anonymous

    Really sorry to hear that, I can’t say I would have done any different if my cat was was in danger like that.

  • Anonymous

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  • Invisible_Jester89

    Well that was a blindingly smart thing to do.

    I’m sorry, Jake, but if the cat was choking, then why didn’t he try to take the cat to a vet? No mummified, dead pet is worth getting bitten by a stray over.

    Edit: OH! The CAT was his pet, not a stray! My bad. ^_^” But still, couldn’t he have gotten the mouse out without getting himself bit? There was really no other method? Just sticking your fingers in a choking animal’s mouth still doesn’t seem terribly bright.

  • Invisible_Jester89

     Your neighbor’s cat is doing that because it thinks you’re a big stupid kitten. I’m serious. Cats do that because they’re trying to teach you how to hunt, in the same way that momma cats teach their kittens how to hunt.

  • sam100001

    This totally sucks. That poor cat. He didn’t take care of him at all. Why did he let him outside in this day’s world? Now the cat is dead. And the cat didn’t look very old. He was just trying to catch mice in this screw-ball’s world. Thanks a lot. another innocent animal dead and he could have cured him. Sick bastard. The cat saved a lot of people from getting this. He just murdered his cat for protecting him. I hate his guts.

  • sam100001

    He is messed up. His cat saved him. He makes me sick. He killed his cat which obviously he never took care of in the first place. I hate him.