Chinese authorities confirm a case of bubonic plague

Yvonne O'Halloran

The inner region of the Chinese city Mongolia is on high alert. There was a confirmed case of a disease known as the bubonic plague– the disease that caused the most deadly pandemic in human history in the Middle Ages. The plague causes painful, swollen lymph nodes, as well as fever, chills and coughing. The diagnosed patient is being isolated and treated in hospital.

The plague, which is caused by a bacteria and transmitted through flea bites and infected animals, can be deadly without the treatment of antibiotics, with a 30-60% fatality rate if left untreated.

Bayannur Health Authorities are urging people to minimise the risk of human-to-human transmission by avoiding hunting, skinning or eating animals that could cause infection.

Bayannur authorities warned the public to report findings of dead or sick marmots – a type of large ground squirrel that is eaten in some parts of China and the neighbouring country Mongolia, and which have historically caused plague outbreaks in the region.

Marmots are hunted for their fur and then transported which can spread the infection.  Two cases of bubonic plague were confirmed in Mongolia last week after two brothers consumed marmot meat Xinhua news agency reported. Another case of a 15 year old was suspected of having the disease after being in contact with a marmot hunted by a dog according to a tweet by Global Times.

According to BBC.com, the bubonic plague, caused by bacterial infection, was responsible for one of the deadliest epidemics in human history – the Black Death – which killed about 50 million people across Africa, Asia and Europe in the 14th Century.

There have been a handful of large outbreaks since. It killed about a fifth of London’s population during the Great Plague of 1665, while more than 12 million died in outbreaks during the 19th Century in China and India.

the bubonic plague, caused by bacterial infection, was responsible for one of the deadliest epidemics in human history – the Black Death – which killed about 50 million people across Africa, Asia and Europe in the 14th Century.

Furthermore,  It killed about a fifth of London’s population during the Great Plague of 1665, while more than 12 million died in outbreaks during the 19th Century in China and India.

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