Two Cases of Deadly Pneumonic Plague Confirmed in Beijing

By Herlina Liu, November 14, 2019

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On November 12, two cases of pneumonic plague were diagnosed in Beijing. (Yes, the plague.) The patients are said to come from Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and have been receiving treatment at an undisclosed medical institution in Chaoyang, after being transferred from Chaoyang Hospital. 

Beijing health authorities reported on November 14 that one of the patients was “in critical condition but the patient’s health had not deteriorated,” and the other was in stable condition, as cited on China Daily. The two have been quarantined while hospitalized in Beijing and any persons exposed to them have been carefully checked. 

While plague is considered one of the most dangerous and deadly infectious diseases by health authorities in China, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that the risk of the disease spreading further in the capital is extremely low and there is no need for panic. They assured that Beijing is not a source for the bacteria that causes the disease and would likely not spread to infect animals in the city, as reported by China Daily.

READ MORE: Gansu city under quarantine after plague outbreak

According to World Health Organization (WHO), plague is a highly infectious disease usually found in and spread by small mammals and fleas, and pneumonic plague – or lung-based plague – is the most virulent form. It was known historically as the Black Death, killing millions in the 14th century. While there is currently no vaccine to prevent catching it, plague can be treated today with strong antibiotics, and recovery rates are high if detected and treated in time (within 24 hours of onset of symptoms). Though,  plague is fatal in all cases if left untreated, so it is important to know the exact symptoms and seek out medical attention immediately. The most common symptoms include fever, chills, coughing, swollen lymph nodes and overall weakness.

While there is no need for extreme protective measures to be taken by residents, the center still recommends washing your hands daily to prevent the spread of germs and steering clear of heavily crowded areas.

READ MORE: Shanghai Hospital Uses AI Tool to Diagnose Disorders in Newborns

[Cover image via Pixabay]

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