Chinese authorities are on high alert and have imposed strict precautionary measures following the emergence of a bubonic plague case in the Inner Mongolia region, Bayannur. As a precautionary measure, a level 3 alert, which prohibits hunting & eating of animals, has been initiated. This alert will be in effect until 2020 end.
The patient from Bayannur, who was confirmed at a hospital located in the Urad Middle Banner region, is currently in a stable condition and kept in isolation. Chinese officials are reportedly investigating another suspected case. The 2nd suspected case is a 15-year-old, who had apparently come into contact with a marmot that was hunted by a dog.
Bubonic plague is a bacterial infection that was considered as one of the deadliest epidemics in the past, with large outbreaks in many regions. The plague has claimed the lives of nearly one-fifth of the population in London during the Great Plague that happened in 1665. Additionally, there were above 12 million deaths recorded during the outbreaks in the 19th century in India and China. In 2017, Madagascar also saw above 300 cases, although they recorded less than 30 death cases. In May 2019, 2 people in China also have died from the plague after consuming raw marmot.
Experts claim that an epidemic is unlikely, however, as there are treatment options available for the infection at present. The disease can typically be transmitted by fleas from animals to humans, with a 30% to 60% fatality rate. The symptoms of this disease include weakness, nausea, chills, high fever, and swollen lymph nodes in the groin, armpit, and neck.
According to Stanford Health Care’s infectious diseases doctor, Dr. Shanti Kappagoda, the medical professionals, unlike in the 1st outbreak in the 14th century, currently have a better understanding of how the disease can be transmitted. With the available treatment option, the plague can be prevented, and the patients can be effectively treated by prescribing antibiotics.