A young boy died in western Mongolia's Gobi-Altai province on Tuesday, July 14, after contracting the bubonic plague. Reportedly, the boy ate an infected marmot; two others also ate the rodent but were being treated with antibiotics. The government has imposed a quarantine on a portion of Gobi-Altai where the cases were reported, and the health ministry has stated that 15 people who had come into contact with the boy were being treated and quarantined. The Mongolian government warned the public not to hunt or eat marmots.
On July 5, a patient who was infected with the plague in Bayan Nur (China; Inner Mongolia autonomous region) is reportedly improving.
Further spread of the plague is possible over the near term.
Bubonic plague is a zoonotic disease affecting rodents and is most often transmitted from rodents to other animals and humans via flea bites. Without prompt and effective treatment, 50-60 percent of bubonic plague cases are fatal.
Individuals present in the affected areas are advised to take measures to protect themselves against insect bites (insect repellents, long sleeved shirts and pants, etc.) and to maintain strict standards of sanitation (cleanliness to discourage presence of rodents, eliminate rodent habitats outdoors - e.g. brush, rock piles, pet food, etc. - and use flea control products on all pets).
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