A suspected case of the bubonic plague was recently reported in northern China after a local herdsman from the city of Bayannur in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region was taken to the hospital on Saturday.
This latest case of the bubonic plague, a highly infectious disease, has propelled local authorities to implement “strict epidemic control and prevention measures,” Global Times reports. The city of Bayannur will be under level III emergency response measures until the end of the year.
Local residents are also being asked to strictly avoid “hunting illegally, eating or carrying animals and their products out of the area,” in addition to reporting any strange sightings of dead marmots or other animals and those who have suddenly fallen ill with high fevers. The plague is able to transmit through a myriad of hosts, and it all starts with bacteria called Yersinia pestis. Infected fleas become the primary vector and bite wild animals such as rats, mice, squirrels or rabbits. In turn, humans who consume these wild animals or get bitten by an infected animal are able to contract the plague.
While COVID-19 is classified under Class B of infectious diseases in China, the plague is under Class A, the highest classification under China’s Law on the Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases.
In November last year, two travelers returning to Beijing from Inner Mongolia were diagnosed with the pneumonic plague. A week later, a hunter contracted the bubonic plague after eating a wild rabbit in Inner Mongolia. While the bubonic plague can be highly deadly, it can be treated with common antibiotics.
CNBC notes that “plague cases are not uncommon in China, but outbreaks have become increasingly rare. From 2009 to 2018, China reported 26 cases and 11 deaths.”
This latest health scare comes just a week after a study revealed a new swine flu in China. However, Reuters reports that Chinese authorities have claimed the swine flu isn’t new and is not easily transmittable.
[Cover image via Unsplash]