China Bubonic Plague Outbreak 2019: 4th Case Confirmed

The number of people contracting plague continues to grow in China. Officials confirmed the fourth patient affected by the disease in the northern region of the country. 

A herder was diagnosed with bubonic plague in late November. Officials in Ulanqab, Inner Mongolia, said the patient is already in stable condition but remains in isolation for treatments, AFP reported.

China first reported the first two patients who contracted plague in mid-November. The couple was infected by the highly-contagious pneumonic strain of the plague in Inner Mongolia.

The third patient affected by the disease also came from the same region. The person was diagnosed with bubonic plague in Inner Mongolia’s Xilin Gol league on November 16.

Efforts To Fight Plague

Following confirmation of the new case of plague, the government of Ulanqab launched a flea and rat eradication campaign, covering nearly 200 acres of land to eliminate potential sources of the disease. 

Infected rats can transmit the plague germ Yersinia pestis to humans via fleas. Officials have yet to confirm how the fourth patient contracted the disease. 

China’s National Health Commission said plague remains rare nationwide. Between 2014 and September of this year, the disease killed a total of five people across the country. 

Treatment For Plague

Many people believed that the plague, once called the Black Death, went extinct hundreds of years ago. But the disease remains in many countries today and is still dangerous.

Bubonic plague is the most common type of the disease that remains today. Affected people commonly develop buboes, which appear as swollen and painful lymph nodes under the arms, in the neck or in the groin. 

Plague still affects nearly a thousand people around the world each year. In the U.S., seven cases are the average number of people being diagnosed with plague annually, mostly in Southwestern states like Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico, according to WebMD

However, treatments for plague are now available. Antibiotics have been found effective in controlling the disease and preventing death.

“If you’ve been around someone who has the plague, your doctor may start treatment even if you don’t have symptoms,” according to WebMD. “If you must be near the person, wear tight-fitting disposable surgical masks so you won’t breathe in the plague bacteria.”

Plague The bubonic plague mainly affects the lymphatic system and spreads through exposure to bacteria called Yersinia pestis. Pixabay