PLAGUE among humans in the United States is being spread by domestic cats, says a report in the British Medical Journal. Out of 10 new cases of plague reported last year, at least two patients were thought to have been infected by cats with visible signs of plague, such as oral lesions and a swollen tongue. The cases were found in New Mexico, Colorado, Texas and Utah.

Plague, a severe infectious fever that can be fatal, has in the past been spread to humans by rat fleas. But domestic cats are now picking up the disease from wild rodents such as rock squirrels or prairie dogs.