China authorities take precautions after bubonic plague case


The first suspected bubonic plague case was reported on July 4 at a hospital in Urad Middle Banner in Bayannur City.

The patient diagnosed with bubonic plague in Bayannur is now being treated at a local hospital and is in stable condition, the city's health commission said. "The public should improve its self-protection awareness and ability, and report abnormal health conditions promptly", China Daily reported.

Another suspected case involving a 15-year-old was reported on Monday in neighbouring Mongolia, China's state news agency Xinhua said.

The Chinese authorities have issued a warning to residents against hunting, eating or transporting potentially infected animals, particularly marmots, and to report any dead or diseased rodents. It is spread by fleas living on wild rodents such as marmots, and can kill an adult in fewer than 24 hours if not treated in time, according to the WHO.

Known as the "Black Death", bubonic plague can be fatal in up to 90 percent of people infected if not treated, primarily with several types of antibiotics.

Two more people got pneumonic plague - another form of the disease, which infects the lungs - months later across the border in Inner Mongolia.

The patient, who was not named for confidentiality, is a herdsman and is now in stable condition after being brought to the hospital.

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It mainly transmits through flea bites, contact with bodily fluids and breathing in the respiratory droplets of a person with pneumonic plague.

"We are also able to treat patients who are infected with effective antibiotics, and can give antibiotics to people who may have been exposed to the bacteria [and] prevent them [from] getting sick".

In 2017, Madagascar saw over 300 cases.

Despite this, health officials said that it is unlikely to cause an epidemic. For bubonic plague specifically, the fatality rate is overall lower than for septicemic or pneumonic plague cases - according to World Health Organization, bubonic plague is fatal in about 30 percent to 60 percent of cases.

The bubonic plague in China is just another anecdote of the year that has been 2020. The bacteria lives in some animals - mainly rodents like rats - and their fleas.

"Unlike in the 14th century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted", Dr. Shanti Kappagoda, an infectious diseases doctor at Stanford Health Care, told news site Heathline, the BBC reported. It can now be treated by antibiotics if administered within a certain time frame.