Stray cat's plague death prompts 'fever watch'

A stray cat's death from the plague in Albuquerque has prompted a handful of city employees and residents to be placed on “fever watch.”

According to KOB, humans were exposed to the diseased animal on April 2. A fever watch is a precautionary measure, according to the New Mexico Department of Health, and involves monitoring for symptoms. No quarantine is in effect.

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Officials do not believe those under fever watch will contract the plague, according to KOB. City officials were wearing gloves when handling the diseased animal.

Health officials have determined that the cat was a stray for approximately a year, and are unsure if other people came into contact with it during the time it was infected. They are asking residents to report any sightings of sick domestic animals or wildlife.

In the southwestern U.S., fleas are a common carrier of the plague, infecting domestic animals and humans after contracting the disease from rodents, according to the New Mexico Department of Health. Cats are susceptible to the plague and usually become very ill. Droplets from their coughs can infect humans. Bubonic plague symptoms in humans can include fever, swollen lymph nodes and headache. The plague can be deadly if prompt treatment is not received.