TAIPEI, Taiwan — After a herder caught the disease, Chinese public health officials are taking all measurements to stop a bubonic plague outbreak in a remote northern region, although experts state the chance is low given the restricted number of cases so far and the availability of modern medicine.
After Covid-19, it could be the bubonic plague that may bother the world. On July 7, China verified a case of bubonic plague in Inner Mongolia. While bubonic plague is not a new warning, it is life-threatening if delays in treatment. In the 14th century, it destroyed an estimated 50 million lives in Europe alone.
The health commission in Bayannur in Inner Mongolia gave its public health alert to its third-highest of four alert levels on Sunday and outlawed the hunting, skinning, and shipping of rodents that might take the bacteria, identified as Yersinia pestis. The municipal government raised its alert level by one notch to “standard plague outbreak alert,” which indicates humans have been infected.
Bayannur’s health commission said in a report: “There is a risk of a human plague epidemic spreading in this city.”
On Tuesday, World Health Organization spokeswoman Margaret Harris told reporters in Geneva that the plague case number in China was low and the agency did not acknowledge it as high risk, but it was observing the circumstances with partners in China and Mongolia.
Officials at Inner Mongolia’s regional center for disease control have informed that the plague may have long been spreading locally and that there is a contingency of human-to-human transmission.
Let’s have a look at what it is and what causes the plague and some previous outbreaks:
What is the Bubonic Plague?
Plague is one of the most harmful bacterial diseases in the history of the human being. During the Black Death in the Middle Ages, it ruined the lives of approximately 50 million people in Europe.
It is generated by bacteria that exist in some animals, especially rodents and their fleas.
Bubonic plague, which is one of the plague’s three types, creates painful, swollen lymph nodes normally in the armpits or groin.
Bubonic Plague Symptoms
A person normally gets sick with bubonic plague from two to six days after being infected.
Along with the soft, swollen lymph nodes, they normally go with fever, colds, headache, muscle pains, and tiredness.
Plague can also harm the lungs, causing a cough, chest pain, and trouble in breathing.
Bacteria can also attack the bloodstream causing a condition called sepsis, which can begin tissue damage, organ failure, and death.
The Transmission in Human
It is transferred to humans by bites from infected insects, touching infected animals such as rats and breathing infected airborne droplets.
The virus could also access the body through a wound in the skin if the person got in touch with an infected animal’s blood.
The current health warning in China bans the hunting and consumption of animals that could carry the plague.
Treatment or Cure
Recent antibiotics can limit complexities and death if taken in time. The disease is commonly life-threatening if left untreated.
Could this Case Become a New Outbreak?
Medical authorities state plague persists in some parts of the world such as parts of Africa and North America.
Dr. Matthew Dryden who is the specialist microbiologist at the University of Southampton in the UK, stated outbreaks today are usually small.
“It is good that this has been picked up and reported at an early stage because it can be isolated, treated and spread prevented,” he told Science Media Centre.
“Bubonic plague is caused by a bacterium and so, unlike COVID-19, is readily treated with antibiotics. So although this might appear alarming, being another major infectious disease emerging from the East, it appears to be a single suspected case that can be readily treated.”