Newscaravan Plague

A city in northern China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region sounded an alert after suspected cases of bubonic plague were reported. The city called Bayannur has announced a level III warning of plague prevention and control.

The suspected bubonic plague case was reported by a hospital following which local health authorities announced that the warning period will continue until the end of 2020.

On July 1, two suspected cases of bubonic plague were reported in Khovd province in western Mongolia. The confirmed cases are a 27-year-old resident and his 17-year-old brother, after they ate marmot meat.

Health officials have now warned people not to eat marmot meat and have isolated a total of 146 people who had contact with the two infected cases. 

What is Bubonic Plague?

According to the World Health Organization, Plague is an infectious disease found in small mammals and their fleas.

Humans can contract plague if they are in bitten by infected fleas, and develop the bubonic form of plague. Sometimes bubonic plague progresses into pneumonic plague, when the causative bacteria (Yersinia pestis) reaches the lungs. 

Symptoms of bubonic plague include

  • Sudden onset of fever
  • Chills
  • Painful and inflamed lymph nodes
  • Shortness of breath with coughing
  • Blood-tainted expectoration

Lymph node becomes inflamed, tense and painful, and is called a “bubo”. At advanced stages of infection the inflamed lymph nodes can turn into open sores filled with puss.

Human to human transmission of bubonic plague is rare. Bubonic plague can advance and spread to the lungs, which is the more severe type of plague called Pneumonic plague. Without prompt and effective treatment, 50-60% of cases of bubonic plague are fatal.

How can plague be treated?

Plague can be treated with antibiotics, and recovery is common if treatment starts early. In areas where there is a plague outbreak, people with symptoms should go to a health centre for evaluation and treatment.

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