Infected flea bites rat. Stray cat bites infected rat. Infected cat who bit the rat who was bit by the flea bites innocent human. A newly adopted stray cat is how the plague was most likely transmitted to Paul Gaylord of Bend, Oregon.
Initially, Mr. Gaylord thought he had the flu when he developed a fever after the bite.
After antibiotics failed to make him feel better, he was rushed to hospital when his lymph nodes swelled to the size of lemons.
‘His heart stopped. His lung collapsed. They told us he wasn’t going to make it,’ said his mother.
Mr. Gaylord spent nearly a month on life support. He still faces surgery to remove his withered, blackened fingers and toes – one of the symptoms of the terrible disease that gave it the name, the ‘black death’.
Although the welder will not be able to work again, he is lucky to be alive.