Black Death Returns to China, Warning Issued After 2 Confirmed Cases of Bubonic Plague
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Black Death Returns to China, Warning Issued After 2 Confirmed Cases of Bubonic Plague

G Plus News | July 06, 2020 12:04 hrs

GUWAHATI: Northern China has begun sounding alerts after suspected cases of the Bubonic Plague was reported by media. 

As per reports, the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region has announced a Level III warning to prevent and control the plague after a case was reported from Bayannur on July 4.

On July 1, two suspected cases of the plague were confirmed after their lab test results showed them clearly to be cases of the bubonic plague. 

The two confirmed cases were of a 27 year old and his 17 year old brother who had consumed marmot meat. Both are being treated in separate hospitals of the province and health officials have warned people not to eat marmot meat. A total of 146 people who had contact with them have also been isolated and treated at local hospitals.

A couple had died of the plague last year in Western Mongolian province after consuming raw marmot meat and the news broke out after Chinese researchers began issuing early warnings over a potential pandemic which could be caused by a type of influenza in pigs.

What is Bubonic Plague?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Bubonic Plague is a bacterial disease which is caused by the bacteria Yersinia Pestis and spread by fleas that live on wild rodents and can kill an adult in less than 24 hours if not treated on time. 

What are its symptoms?

Symptoms of this disease include swollen lymph nodes, which can be as large as chicken eggs, in the groin, armpit or neck. They may be tender and warm. Other symptoms include fever, chills, headache, fatigue and muscle aches. The Bubonic plague requires urgent hospital treatment with strong antibiotics.

How fatal is the disease?

In the Middle Ages, a bubonic plague pandemic, also known as the 'black death', had wiped out more than half of Europe's population. However, with the availability of antibiotics, the disease is largely treatable now. If not treated on time, bubonic plague has a case-fatality ratio of 30 per cent to 60 per cent, while its circulation in bloodstream can touch 100 per cent fatality. Even if diagnosed and treated on time, the disease has about a 10 per cent fatality rate.

The airborne spread of the highly contagious disease had wreaked havoc across the world; healthy people were found dead overnight, and sailors started arriving at ports either dead or rotting. There were riots and massacres of the Jewish people, and the disease is believed to have been brought under control by strict quarantine measures and public hygiene enactments.

Bubonic Plague in India (1994)

The Bubonic Plague outbreak was also witnessed in India in the year 1994 along with the pneumonic plague in South-Central and Western parts of India between the months of August and October.

With 693 suspected cases of the virus, 56 deaths were reported from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. 

The great earthquake in Latur in the year 1993, which had caused a large number of homes to be abandoned with food grains inside, led to destabilization of the wild rat population that transmitted the plague from wild rats to domestic rats.

According to WHO reports, excessive rat deaths in Maharashtra’s Beed district followed by fleas could have been the cause behind the plague.

Flooding in Surat, the same year which had led to bodies of dead rats on streets due to water flowing out of sewers further spread the disease during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival. By the end of the outbreak, 78 percent of the confirmed cases of the disease were from the slums of Surat which created panic.

Tourism was affected during this plague and people began to panic-buy commodities. Surat alone reported an estimated damage of Rs. 816 crore rupees.
 

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