On Saturday 4 July, a man in Eastern China was diagnosed of the bubonic plague and he is currently under isolation in a local hospital where in his being treated. His situation was confirmed by Bayannur city health commission of the country as they revealed a case of bubonic plague was detected in a herdsman from inner Mongolia district, prompting the need for increased preventive measures throughout the region.
Plagues are bacterial infections transmitted by fleas and infected animals, it killed an estimated 50 million people in Europe during the Black Death pandemic. It causes painful and swollen lymph modes, fever, chills and cough.
Local health authorities stated there is a spread of a threatening human plague in the city and encourages the public to step up self-protection and report all abnormal conditions promptly. Two more confirmed cases have been recorded in two brothers from Mongolia who had consumed marmot meat, Xinhua news agency reported.
Marmot is a type of large ground squirrel served as a meal in some parts of China and neighbouring Mongolia. The animal is said to have caused the pneumonia plague epidemic in 1911, killing about 63,000 people in northeast China
The city health commission warned residents to avoid hunting, transport or consumption of possibly infected animals, including marmots, and to take necessary precautionary measures. The order which will last till the end of the year as the plague is still being monitored.
Margaret Harris, WHO Spokeswoman said “Bubonic plague has been with us and is always with us for centuries. We are looking at the case numbers in China. It is being well managed. At the moment, we consider it high risk but we are monitoring it carefully”.
The severity of symptoms from plagues can be reduced with modern antibiotics however, that can only happen if detected and treated promptly. While modern medicine can treat plagues, it has not totally eradicated it.
Plague has been reoccurring since its first strike, though the fatality rate is not as high as the previous with 1,000 to 2,000 individuals getting infected every year according to World Health Organisation. It has been categorized as a re-emerging disease by the WHO as a result of its continuous come backs.
A 2016 data showed, the likelihood of plague existing on almost every continent, especially the Western US, parts of Brazil, Southeast Africa and China, India and the Middle east. Plagues exist permanently in Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar and Peru.
Bubonic plague if left untreated, could result in more fatal pneumonic plague, causing rapidly developing pneumonia following bacteria spread to the lungs.