At a time when the entire world is fighting against coronavirus pandemic, a Chinese city has sounded an alert after a suspected case of bubonic plague has been reported. The bubonic plague, known as the "Black Death", is a bacterial disease that spread by fleas living on wild rodents such as marmots. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), bubonic plague can kill an adult in less than 24 hours if not treated on time.
On July 1, state-run Xinhua news agency said that two suspected cases of bubonic plague reported in Khovd province in western Mongolia have been confirmed by lab test results. The confirmed cases are a 27-year-old resident and his 17-year-old brother, who are being treated at two separate hospitals in their province. According to health officials, they ate marmot meat. A total of 146 people who had contact with them have been isolated and treated at local hospitals
According to Reuters, plague cases are common in China. From 2009 to 2018, China reported 26 cases and 11 deaths.
The news of bubonic plague has come after Chinese researchers issued an early warning over another potential pandemic caused by pigs. Scientists from China Agricultural University, the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and other institutes detected a pig influenza virus bearing genotype 4 (G4), which is contagious among pigs and has the possibility of jumping to humans, as the G4 virus is able to bind with human cells.
The new diseases are surfacing in China even when the country is grappling with the second attack of COVID-19 in the capital city of Beijing.