Saturday, 15 May 2021

China bubonic plague: Teenager dies from Black Death as outbreak fears surge

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The boy showed symptoms including a high fever after eating a marmot along with two other people. He died three days after consuming the meat, it has been reported.

People who were in contact with him had been advised of the incident and told to isolate to avoid spreading the disease.

The incident occurred in the western Mongolian region of Govi-Altai, said the country’s National Centre for Zoonotic Diseases.

Five districts have imposed lockdowns to stop the contagion.

Two infections of bubonic plague were recently reported in the neighbouring province of Khovd, involving a 27-year-old man and his brother, 17.

The bubonic plague previously killed a couple in the western Mongolian province of Bayan-Ulgii in April 2019, after the pair consumed raw marmot meat.

It is believed one confirmed infection in China this month has not led to contagion.

However, the Mongolian health ministry said the Altai regions of China and Russia as well as Mongolia are vulnerable to contagion due to infected marmots, referring to a new study.

A TV announcement revealed these were “highly active areas of marmot epidemics”.

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Senior official Dorj Narangerel said it was “very important not to hunt marmots” or consume the rodent’s meat.

Mr Narangerel said: “The marmot plague is very toxic.

“We urge you to pay special attention to the fact that the pulmonary form of the disease is just as rapid as the coronavirus infection – but it is a disease that can kill people very quickly.”

When the case was announced publicly last week Dr Narangerel communicated the news.

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He said: “The child’s condition has improved and there are reports that the fever has dropped and the pain in the axillary glands has decreased.

“We also took full control of 34 suspects in the first contact.

“Samples from the child will be flown in at 22:00 tonight for testing at the National Center for Communicable Diseases.

“This is the second plague in our country. Cases of marmot plague have also been reported in Inner Mongolia, China.

“In this regard, Russia yesterday began to take measures to ban marmot hunting.

“While our neighbours are paying close attention, our citizens are being warned not to hunt and eat marmots illegally and to follow their advice.”

Also last week, the World Health Organisation said it was “carefully monitoring” the spread but it was “not high risk”.

WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said: “Bubonic plague has been with us and is always with us, for centuries.

“We are looking at the case numbers in China. It’s being well managed.

“At the moment, we are not considering it high risk but we’re watching it, monitoring it carefully.”

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