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China Confirms Case of Bubonic Plague

Health officials in China have confirmed a case of bubonic plague in a herdsman from the Inner Mongolia district, triggering increased prevention measures throughout the region, according to the Bayannur city health commission.

The man, who was diagnosed Sunday, is under isolation at a local hospital where he is receiving treatment and reported to be in stable condition.

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The city health commission has issued a Level 3 warning to last until the end of year, urging residents not to hunt, transport, or consume potentially infected animals, including marmots, and to practice good infection prevention measures.

"At present, there is a risk of a human plague epidemic spreading in this city. The public should improve its self-protection awareness and ability, and report abnormal health conditions promptly," the local health authority said, according to China Daily.

The confirmed case follows 2 others reported last week in Mongolia in brothers who had consumed marmot meat, Xinhua news agency reported.

Caused by the Yersinia pestis bacterium, bubonic plague is spread via the bites of infected fleas from small mammals.

"The lymph node then becomes inflamed, tense and painful, and is called a 'bubo,'" according to the World Health Organization. "At advanced stages of infection the inflamed lymph nodes can turn into open sores filled with puss. Human to human transmission of bubonic plague is rare. Bubonic plague can advance and spread to the lungs, which is the more severe type of plague called Pneumonic plague."

Without treatment, plague’s case-fatality ratio ranges from 30% to 100%.
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