Authorities in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region issued a warning on Friday, August 7, following the death of a bubonic plague patient in the city of Bayan Nur. The level three alert (second-lowest in a four-tier system) comes following the second death of a patient in August in the region following earlier reports that a patient died of an unspecified plague in Baotou City. The area of Bayan Nur where the deceased had lived has been locked down, and seven close contacts were quarantined and subsequently tested negative for the plague.
Further spread of the plague is possible over the near term.
Four bubonic plague cases were reported in Inner Mongolia in November 2019, with two further cases being detected in Beijing. Between 2009 and 2018, 26 cases of plague were detected in China with 11 associated fatalities. A previous death linked to the plague detected in Yumen (Gansu province) in 2014 led to the quarantine of the town.
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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