China bubonic plague: Inner Mongolia takes precautions after case

(BBC) – Authorities in China have stepped up precautions after a city in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region confirmed one case of bubonic plague.

According to state reports, the Bayannur patient – a herdsman – is in quarantine and in a stable condition.

Officials said they were also investigating a second suspected case, according to China’s Global Times.

The bubonic plague was once the world’s most feared disease, but can now be easily treated.

The first case was reported as suspected bubonic plague on Saturday at a hospital in Urad Middle Banner, in Bayannur city. It is not yet clear how or why the patient might have become infected.

The second suspected case involves a 15-year-old, who had apparently been in contact with a marmot hunted by a dog, a tweet from Global Times said.

A level 3 alert, which forbids the hunting and eating of animals that could carry plague and calls on the public to report suspected cases, has been put in place until the end of the year.

What is bubonic plague?

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.

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