A US man has contracted the plague more than 600 years since the Black Death swept through Europe, killing a third of the population, it has been confirmed.
The unnamed man from Oregon developed a fever as well as swollen lymph nodes in his armpits and groin area, the dreaded 'buboes' described in historical accounts of the bubonic plague.
This developed into bleeding and abdominal pain, and doctors diagnosed Septicaemic plague, which has been confirmed by tests.
It is thought that the man may have been infected when he removed a mouse from a stray cat's jaws, after his friend befriended the animal. The cat is now undergoing tests, reports the Oregon Live. It is believe he may have been bitten by a flea living in the fur of one of the animals.
Although the disease was described as 'serious' by Emilio DeBess, the public health veterinarian for Oregon, advances in medicine mean that 'plague' is now treatable with antibiotics.
The 50-year-old is now in a critical condition in hospital according to Crook County officials. According to the World Health Organisation, 50–60% of cases of bubonic plague are fatal without prompt and effective treatment, while untreated septicaemic and pneumonic plague are invariably fatal if untreated.
An average of 11 cases of plague are reported in America every year, according to the WHO.