China confirms a case of bubonic plague

A bubonic plague smear, prepared from a lymph removed from an adenopathic lymph node of a plague patient. Photo: Getty Images

Beijing, China – Chinese authorities has reported a case of bubonic plague in Inner Mongolia.

According to the Global Times of China, bubonic plague is a common type of plague disease that has been infected by a herdsman in the city of Bayannur, located northwest of Beijing. It also mentions that the infected person is in a stable condition and is currently isolated while undergoing treatments in the hosiptal of Bayyanur city.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention of China has issued a citywide level 3 warning until the end of the year to prevent the spread of plague.

With the second lowest alert in a four-level system, the citizens of the city are restricted to hunt, eat and transport potentially infected animals, particularly marmots; a type of large ground squirrel that is eaten in some parts of China and the neighboring country Mongolia, which are known to have caused plague outbreaks in the region. The citizens are also advised to report abnormal health conditions immediately.

The bubonic plague is the most common form of plague diseases. It is caused by the bite of an infected flea and can spread through contact with infectious bodily fluids or contaminated materials. The symptoms for the bubonic plague consists of  painful, swollen lymph nodes, as well as fever, chills, and coughing.

In the 14th century, bubonic plague had spreaded widely across Africa, Asia and Europe and had caused approximately 50 million deaths earning the name ‘Black Dead’. There has been limited numbers of cases reported for bubonic plague throughout the world ever since. According to WHO, approximately 1000 to 2000 cases are confirmed for bubonic plague per year.

Although bubonic plague was once the world’s most feared disease, it can be easily treated now as there are antibiotics for it. Therefore World Health Organization (WHO) mentioned that it is not considered a high risk like Covid-19 yet, however, it is being carefully monitored.