A man in Oregon has been infected with the plague, the same disease that wiped out up to 60 percent of Europe in the Middle Ages.
He caught the rare, but deadly, strain of the bacteria after he was bitten on the hand trying to pry a dead mouse from the jaws of a stray neighborhood cat.
The man, whose name was not released, is currently fighting the most horrific form of the disease, septicemic plague, which can cause victims to bleed from the mouth, nose and rectum, according to health officials.
The bacterium behind the plague that ravages Europe in the 14th century, Yersinia pestis, is still carried by fleas that infect animal across the world, mostly rats.
However, treatment with modern antibiotics can usually defeat the infection before it becomes deadly.
The latest victim, who is only the fifth case of plague in Oregon in 20 years, has already had two of the three types of plague infection, the Oregonian newspaper reports.
After he was bitten, the man, who is from rural Crook County in central Oregon, developed swollen lymph nodes, a sign of bubonic plague.
In the hospital, it developed into septicemic plague, infecting his bloodstream.
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