Chinese village quarantined after fatal plague case

Henrietta Strickland
August 9, 2020

China has sealed off an Inner Mongolian village after a resident died from the bubonic plague, according to a statement by the municipal health authorities.

The area where the person lived has been sealed off, and seven close contacts have been placed under medical observation, the commission said. On Thursday, another city in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Baotou, also issued a level III warning after reporting one plague fatality.

The city of Baotou, in northern China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, said the victim had contracted the enteric plague. The unidentified patient ultimately died of circulatory system failure.

The fatality occurred at the Suji Estate at the town of Shibao in Darhan Muminggan United Banner, near the Chinese border with Mongolia.

The warning period in Bayannur will stay in place until the end of 2020, authorities said. The statement also indicated that all villagers have so far tested negative for the disease. Around 35 people are said to have been quarantined, but later tested negative for the disease.

The government admitted that the city was facing a potential epidemic of plague among humans.

"The deceased's residence and surrounding farmers' residences were completely cleaned every day, and flea and rodent eradication, environmental sanitation and remediation were carried out in and around Suji New Village", reads the official statement. The bacteria is transmitted through flea bites and infected animals, usually small mammals like rodents.

None of the residents in Suji had a fever or tested positive for plague, the notice said.

Although plague has been responsible for widespread pandemics throughout history, including the Black Death, which killed more than 50 million people in Europe during the 14th century, today it can be easily treated with antibiotics and the use of standard preventative measures, says the WHO. People can contract plague if they are bitten by infected fleas, and can develop the bubonic form of plague.

Chinese officials in July announced a case of the bubonic plague in the nearby city of Bayannur.

The enteric plague, also known as the pharyngeal plague, attacks a person's digestive system and can arise as a result of exposure to infectious aerosols or by ingestion of infected meat. However, it can advance and spread to the lungs, which is the more severe type of plague called Pneumonic plague.

On July 1, Mongolia confirmed two cases of the bubonic plague involving brothers who ate marmot they illegally captured, according to China's state-run media Xinhua.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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