The 16-year-old contracted the disease from a flea bite and fell ill shortly after

By Andrea Park
Updated October 30, 2015 12:20 PM
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A case of the bubonic plague – which claimed the lives of an estimated 60 percent of the European population during the Middle Ages – has been confirmed in Oregon.

A 16-year-old girl from Crook County has been diagnosed with bubonic plague after a hunting trip, USA Today reports.

According to a release from the Oregon Health Authority, “the girl is believed to have acquired the disease from a flea bite during a hunting trip near Heppner in Morrow County that started on Oct. 16. She reportedly fell ill on Oct. 21 and was hospitalized in Bend on Oct. 24.”

The report also states that the girl is “recovering in the hospital’s intensive care unit.”

The plague is an infectious bacterial disease that is carried by rodents and their fleas and, if detected early, is treatable with antibiotics, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“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,” state public health veterinarian Emilio DeBess said in the OHA release. “Fortunately, plague remains a rare disease, but people need to take appropriate precautions with wildlife and their pets to keep it that way.”

These precautions, DeBess says, include avoiding contact with wild rodents and protecting pets from fleas and wild animals.

Symptoms of the plague develop one to four days after exposure to the disease and include fever, chills, headache, weakness, swollen lymph nodes and a bloody or watery cough, among several other symptoms, according to the CDC.

The OHA recommends contacting your health care provider if the plague is suspected or a veterinarian if pets or rodents display plague-like symptoms. For more information on the plague, see the CDC’s page on the disease.