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Chinese city sounds alert for bubonic plague

WION logo WION 5/7/2020 (Wion Web Team)
a rodent looking at the camera © Provided by WION

A city in northern China on Sunday sounded an alert after a suspected case of bubonic plague was reported.

The suspected bubonic plague case was reported on Saturday by a hospital in Bayannur, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

The city announced a level III warning of plague prevention and control, state-run People's Daily Online reported -- the second lowest in a four-level system.

The alert forbids the hunting and eating of animals that could carry plague and asks the public to report any suspected cases of plague or fever with no clear causes, and to report any sick or dead marmots.

Bubonic plague is a bacterial disease that is spread by fleas living on wild rodents such as marmots. It can kill an adult in less than 24 hours if not treated in time, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

At present, there is a risk of a human plague epidemic spreading in this city. The local health authority announced that the warning period will continue until the end of 2020.

On July 1, state-run Xinhua news agency said that two suspected cases of bubonic plague reported in Khovd province in western Mongolia have been confirmed by lab test results.

The confirmed cases are a 27-year-old resident and his 17-year-old brother, who are being treated at two separate hospitals in their province, it quoted a health official as saying.

The brothers ate marmot meat, the health official said, warning people not to eat marmot meat.

A total of 146 people who had contact with them have been isolated and treated at local hospitals.

A couple died of bubonic plague in the western Mongolian province of Bayan-Ulgii last year after eating raw marmot meat.

The news of bubonic plague came after Chinese researchers issued an early warning over another potential pandemic caused by an influenza virus in pigs.

Scientists from China Agricultural University, the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and other institutes detected a pig influenza virus bearing genotype 4 (G4), which is contagious among pigs and has the possibility of jumping to humans, as the G4 virus is able to bind with human cells, state-run Global Times reported last week.

The researchers are concerned that it could mutate further so that it can spread easily from person to person, and trigger a global outbreak, BBC reported.

The new diseases were reported even as China grappled with the second attack of COVID-19 in Beijing after controlling it in Wuhan where it was first reported in December last year.

(with inputs from agencies)

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