KAYCEE, Wyo. — A third cat in the last six months has tested positive for the bubonic plague in Wyoming.

Laboratory tests at the University of Wyoming confirmed a cat in Johnson County was infected with the plague, the Wyoming Department of Health said.

“Plague is a serious bacterial infection that can be deadly for pets and people if not treated as soon as possible with antibiotics,” said Dr. Alexia Harrist in a news release. “The disease can be passed to humans from ill animals and by fleas coming from infected animals. We are letting people know of the potential threat in the cat’s home area as well as across the state.”

The department said the cat’s home is in Kaycee, Wyoming, and the animal is known to wander outdoors.

The other cats infected with plague were in Sheridan and Campbell counties.

“While the disease is rare in humans, plague occurs naturally in the western United States in areas where rodents and their fleas become infected,” Harrist said.

Only six human cases of plague have been exposed in Wyoming since 1978 with the last one investigated in 2008, the department said. There is an average of seven human plague cases each year in the U.S.

Plague is spread through the bites of fleas but can also happen with contact with rodents and animals.

Note: The cat in the picture used for this story is a file photo.

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