A city in northern China on Sunday sounded an alert after a suspected case of bubonic plague was reported, according to official media here. Bayannur, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, announced a level III warning of plague prevention and control, state-run People’s Daily Online reported.
On July 1, state-run Xinhua news agency said that two suspected cases of bubonic plague reported in Khovd province in western Mongolia have been confirmed by lab test results. The confirmed cases are a 27-year-old resident and his 17-year-old brother. The brothers ate marmot meat, the health official said, warning people not to eat marmot meat.
What is the bubonic plague?
Bubonic plague is a rare but serious bacterial infection transmitted by fleas from rodents.
It is a zoonotic disease and it can be transmitted to other animals or humans. It mainly results from the bite of an infected flea. It may also result from exposure to the body fluids from a dead plague-infected animal.
It is one of the three plagues caused by bacterium Yersinia pestis. The other two being Septicaemic plague and Pneumonic plague.
It is spread by Yersinia pestis bacteria and requires urgent hospitalisation. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), it can kill an adult in less than 24 hours, if not treated in time.
Without treatment, the plague can result in the death of 30% to 60% of the infected people.
What are its symptoms?
A person infected with bubonic plague will experience the following symptoms — swollen lymph nodes, which can be as large as chicken eggs, in the groin, armpit or neck. They may be tender and warm. Others include fever, chills, headache, fatigue and muscle aches.
Past occurrences
From 2010 to 2015, there have been over 3,200 reported cases of bubonic plague, which resulted in 584 deaths.
In the 14th century, bubonic plague resulted in Black Death in Asia, Europe and Africa. It caused the death of over 50 million people — around 25% to 60% of the European population.


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