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China's New Worry: the Bubonic Plague

Herdsman contracts it, likely from a marmot
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2020 11:05 AM CDT

(Newser) – China has another infectious disease worry on its hands, but this one is old school. As in, it's the bubonic plague, reports the BBC. It seems a herder in Inner Mongolia came down with the disease, and he's now undergoing treatment in a hospital, per the New York Times. The disease—which wiped out tens of millions as the Black Death in the Middle Ages—is often transmitted by fleas from infected rodents. In this region, the usual culprit is a marmot. Health officials in the city of Bayannur have warned residents not to hunt, eat, or transport at-risk animals, including marmots.

"At present, there is a risk of a human plague epidemic spreading in this city," said the local health authority, per CNN. "The public should improve its self-protection awareness and ability, and report abnormal health conditions promptly." The bubonic plague, one of three forms of the plague, is treatable with antibiotics. The US usually gets at least a few plague cases a year, like this 2018 case out of Idaho. (Read more bubonic plague stories.)

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