The bubonic plague, known as “Black Death” in the Middle Ages and caused by the same bacterium as the pneumonic variant, has awaken in China’s Inner Mongolia.
The first case of the bubonic plague was reported on Saturday by the autonomous region’s health officials. The experts also hope that the risk of an outbreak is minima in Inner Mongolia.
Rodent populations have risen in Inner Mongolia after persistent droughts. An area the size of the Netherlands was hit by a “rat plague” last summer, causing huge damages.
The 55-year-old man was diagnosed with the disease after he ate wild rabbit meat on November 5. The patient in Inner Mongolia is now isolated and treated at a hospital in Ulanqab, the health commission said.
A total of 28 people who had close contact with the patient are now isolated and under observation, and the commission said there are no abnormal symptoms found in them.
Bubonic plague, a rare but severe disease
The World Health Organization lists that disease as a more severe type called pneumonic plague. Bubonic plague is the most common form of plague globally, in fact. It spreads to the lungs and could be lethal. Rats are also known carriers of the plague, spreading them via infected fleas.
The Inner Mongolia case follows two that were confirmed earlier this month in Beijing. In both cases, the two patients from Inner Mongolia were quarantined at a facility in the capital after being diagnosed with pneumonic plague, health authorities said at the time.
The Inner Mongolia health commission said it found no evidence so far to link the most recent case to the earlier two cases in Beijing.
Outbreaks in China have been rare, but large parts of the northwestern city of Yumen were sealed off in 2014 after a 38-year-old resident died of ‘Black Death’.