Plague confirmed in Albany Cat County

Plague confirmed in Albany Cat County

September 1, 2022

Plague confirmed in Albany Cat County

Lab tests recently confirmed that a rural Albany County cat died of the plague, according to the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH).

The cat’s home was in the Laramie area and the animal mostly lived outdoors or in outbuildings. Other cats in a group at the same location have also died in recent months, indicating a likely spread of the plague.

Although there have been no human illnesses associated with the current situation in Albany County, WDH has reported a human case of pneumonic plague in an individual in Fremont County who was exposed to sick outdoor cats. last September. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2010 to 2019, there were an average of five cases of human plague each year in the United States.

“Plague is a serious bacterial infection that can be fatal to pets and humans if not treated as soon as possible with antibiotics,” said Courtney Tillman, epidemiologist at WDH. “The disease can be transmitted to humans by sick animals and by fleas from infected animals. We’re notifying people of the potential threat in the cat’s home region and reminding people across the state of the plague.

“Although the disease is rare in humans, plague occurs naturally in the western United States in areas where rodents and their fleas are infected,” Tillman said. “It is safe to assume that a risk of plague exists throughout our state.”

Recommended precautions to help prevent plague infection include:

  • Use repellent if exposure to fleas is possible during activities such as camping, hiking, or working outdoors. Products containing DEET can be applied to the skin as well as clothing.
  • Keep fleas away from indoor and outdoor pets by applying flea products. Animals that roam freely outdoors are more likely to come into contact with plague-infected animals or fleas.
  • Avoid unnecessary exposure to rodents, including avoiding areas of unexplained mortality and rodent carcasses.
  • If pets get sick, get them treated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
  • Do not allow free-roaming dogs or cats to share their bed with people.
  • Reduce rodent habitats around the home, workplace, and recreation areas by removing brush, rock piles, trash, cluttered firewood, and possible rodent food supplies.
  • Wear gloves and a mask if handling potentially infected or deceased animals to avoid skin contact with plague bacteria and to avoid inhaling plague bacteria.

Symptoms of plague in pets can include enlarged lymph nodes; swelling of the neck, face or around the ears; fever; chills; lack of energy; to cough; vomiting; diarrhea and dehydration.

Symptoms of plague in people may include fever, swollen and painful lymph nodes, extreme exhaustion, headache, chills, cough, difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea. Sick people should consult a professional doctor.

More information about plague is available from the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at

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