Beginning in the 1300s, the Black Plague claimed between 75 million and 200 million deaths across Europe, Asia, and North Africa. The plague was caused by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis. It was carried mainly by rats, and transmitted to humans via flea bites. The devastation still ranks as the worst epidemic in human history.
Yersinia pestis is still around today. Household pets can still contract it, and that often happens because of encounters with mice. If your cat or dog contracts Y. pestis, possible symptoms include lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, muscle soreness, and fever. Your pet may also develop lymph node enlargement, mouth lesions, and weight loss. It is fairly rare for modern day humans to contract the plague, but when they do, the symptoms are similar. Like hantavirus or rat bite fever, it’s one more thing you don’t want your pets or family to face.
Lucky for us, and unlike the people of Medieval Europe, we have antibiotics. Your cat (and, for that matter, you) can be easily treated for this ancient malady with modern science. It takes some time to recover, but recovery is quicker if the treatment begins as soon as possible after detection.
Remember, the flea is still the perpetrator of the crime. But the mouse is the getaway car. To be fair, it’s not only mice – other rodents such as rats, squirrels, groundhogs, and prairie dogs are also carriers of both the Y. pestis bacterium and the fleas. But let’s face it, you don’t often have prairie dogs infesting a residential home.
As long as you don’t actually touch an infected animal, your chances of contracting the plague are pretty remote. The World Health Organization reports 3248 cases of the plane between 2010 and 2015, worldwide. It’s still around in humans a little bit mainly because there is no vaccine. But pets stand a much greater risk.
Although not very likely, the presence of the plague bacterium is one more reason to contact a professional exterminator, if you see mouse activity. Mice Mob Exterminators can evaluate your situation and safely address your mouse problem.