Chinese Authorities Take Precautions to Halt Bubonic Plague Spread
At a time when China is already drowning amid the coronavirus crisis, another disease appears to be threatening the civilians in the country. The bubonic plague, considered one of the most fatal pandemics in the human history that has resulted in million deaths, has re-emerged in China.
The first case was confirmed in Chinese inner Mongolia autonomous region, after which the authorities in China increased precautionary measures in the country. The patient, identified on Saturday, is a herdsman and is being treated at a hospital in Urad Middle Banner, in Bayannur city. The authorities say that he is now in a stable condition.
Upon recalling history, it has been noticed that bubonic plague was once the world’s most feared disease. However, the medical advancements in today’s world have made the disease easily treatable by antibiotics.
Bubonic plague is one of the three types of plague caused by Yersinia pestis and is often spread by infected fleas from small animals. One can also get the disease when getting in contact to the body fluids from a dead plague-infected animal.
Bubonic plague’s flu-like symptoms develop in one to seven days after exposure to the bacteria. The area of the skin exposed to the bacteria gets swollen with painful lymph nodes that often breaks open. The diagnosis is made by finding the bacteria in the blood, sputum, or fluid from lymph nodes. Left untreated, the disease could be fatal. A study shows that it has a 30-60 percent fatality rate.
The Chinese authorities, who have no idea as to how the patient might have become infected, are now actively investigating a second suspected case of bubonic plague. Some suggest that the second case is that of a 15-year-old, who had apparently been in contact with a marmot hunted by a dog.
As a protective measure, a level three alert has been put in place until the end of the year, forbidding the plague-suspected animals’ hunting and eating and calls on the public to report the suspected cases. A similar outbreak happened in Madagascar in 2017, which saw 300 cases and in which less than 30 people died.
Though bubonic plague is now a treatable disease, citizens fear that if the cases continue to rise, soon there will be an epidemic, which might become uncontrollable in the wake of the existing COVID-19 crisis.
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