PORTLAND, Ore. - Health officials have confirmed that an Oregon man has the plague after he was bitten while trying to take a dead rodent from the mouth of a stray cat.
The unidentified Prineville, Ore., man was in critical condition on Friday. He is suffering from a blood-borne version of the disease that wiped out at least one-third of Europe in the 14th century - that one, the bubonic plague, affects lymph nodes.
There is an average of seven human plague cases in the United States 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.