Authorities in the city of Bayan Nur in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia issued a warning on Sunday. The day previously a hospital reported a c
Authorities in the city of Bayan Nur in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia issued a warning on Sunday. The day previously a hospital reported a case of suspected bubonic plague. The health committee of the city issued the third-level alert, which is the second lowest in a four-level system.
Although there are some concerns of a wave of the plague in China, experts have suggested it is unlikely to spread globally like COVID-19.
Dr Matthew Dryden, consultant microbiologist at the University of Southampton in the UK, told BBC News: “It is good that this has been picked up and reported at an early stage because it can be isolated, treated and spread prevented.
“Bubonic plague is caused by a bacterium and so, unlike COVIDI-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 which can be readily treated.”
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Is bubonic plague treatable?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the bubonic plague outbreak known as the Black Death in the 14th Century, killed an estimated 50 million people.
If left untreated, plague can be fatal, although the fatality rate is lower in bubonic plague cases than in other cases of plague.
Today plague can be successfully treated with antibiotics, and this has reduced the fatality rate of the virus.
However even with antibiotic treatment people still die from bubonic plague today.
If someone is diagnosed with suspected plague, it is important they are hospitalised as soon as possible.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a vaccine for plague is not readily available.
New plague vaccines are in development, but they are not expected to be commercially available any time soon.
Where is plague usually found?
Over history much of the world has witnessed a plague epidemic.
Plague is found in all continents, with the exception of Oceania.
However according to the World Health Organization, most cases since the 1990s have occured in Africa.
Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar and Peru are the three most endemic countries.