Chinese authorities stepped up precautions after an Inner Mongolian city, Bayan Nur, confirmed a case of bubonic plague. This comes after a whole region of a Mongolian region near China's border got quarantined with tracing primary and secondary contacts of two infected people.
Chinese state media reported that the patient is a herdsman and is in quarantine for now. He is in a stable condition. A second lowest, level 3, warning was issued by Chinese officials in a four-tier setup.
The bubonic plague is caused by the bacterial called yersinia pestis. The infection can be fatal if not treated at the right time. Commonly available antibiotics can treat the disease.
The new case was first suspected as bubonic plague on Saturday at the Bayan Nur's Urad Middle Banner hospital. It is not yet known how and why the patient got infected by the plague.
Level 3 Alert
Level 3 alert is an order that forbids the hunting and eating of animals that potentially carry plague bacteria and calls the public to report suspected cases of plague
Bubonic plague is occasionally reported around the world and is not new. Madagascar reported over 300 cases during a 2017 outbreak
In May 2019, two people in Mongolia died from bubonic plague, as they contracted it after eating raw meat of a marmot. A Mongolian region was also quarantined recently due to the outbreak fears.
A World Health Organization (WHO) official in Mongolia's capital Ulaanbaatar had told the BBC about a local belief that raw marmot meat and kidney was thought to be a folk remedy for good health.
Rodents carry the plague bacteria and are the main reason for outbreaks in the country. Mongolia has made it illegal to hunt marmots
Symptoms of plague include swollen lymph nodes. It usually develops after three to seven days of the infection which is initially flu-like.
It is most unlikely that it will turn into an epidemic as we have treatment and drugs to cure the disease, say experts.
Back in the 14th century, the disease killed more than 50 million across Africa, Asia and Europe. It's last outbreak was in London in 1665, killing one-fifth of the city's residents. Even in the 19th century, a plague outbreak occurred in China and India, killing more than 12 million people.