Historically, we see numerous reports and accounts of plagues in various parts of the world affecting civilians, rulers, kingdoms and economic structures alike. The plague is seen as an impending destruction upon mankind wherever it spreads. There have been reports that surfaced claiming a resurfacing of the Bubonic Plague in China.
Bubonic plague case reported in China's inner Mongolia.
— Complex (@Complex) July 6, 2020
The Plague is a disease that affects humans and other mammals. It is caused by the bacterium, Yersinia pestis. Humans usually get plague after being bitten by a rodent flea that is carrying the plague bacterium or by handling an animal infected with plague. Plague is infamous for killing millions of people in Europe during the Middle Ages, with the most infamous case being Black Death. Today, modern antibiotics are effective in treating plague. Without prompt treatment, the disease can cause serious illness or death. Presently, human plague infections continue to occur in rural areas in the western United States, but significantly more cases occur in parts of Africa and Asia.
Bubonic Plague China: Types of plague
Plague is divided into three main types — bubonic, septicemic and pneumonic — depending on which part of your body is involved. Signs and symptoms vary depending on the type of plague.
Bubonic plague is the most common variety of the disease. It’s named after the swollen lymph nodes (buboes) that typically develop in the first week after you become infected. Buboes may be: situated in the groin, armpit or neck, about the size of a chicken egg, tender and firm to the touch. Other bubonic plague signs and symptoms may include: sudden onset of fever and chills, headache, fatigue or malaise, muscle aches.
Read more: Locust plague: Pakistan seeks Chinese help
Septicemic plague occurs when plague bacteria multiply in your bloodstream. Signs and symptoms include: fever and chills, extreme weakness, abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting, bleeding from your mouth, nose or rectum, or under your skin, shock, blackening and death of tissue (gangrene) in your extremities, most commonly your fingers, toes and nose.
Coming to the final of the three, pneumonic plague affects the lungs. It’s the least common variety of plague but the most dangerous, because it can be spread from person to person via cough droplets. Signs and symptoms can begin within a few hours after infection, and may include: cough, with bloody mucus (sputum), difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, high fever, headache, weakness, chest pain.
Pneumonic plague progresses rapidly and may cause respiratory failure and shock within two days of infection. Pneumonic plague needs to be treated with antibiotics within a day after signs and symptoms first appear, or the infection is likely to be fatal.
How worried should the world be?
Mortality rates for treated individuals range from 1 percent to 15 percent for bubonic plague to 40 percent for septicemic plague. In untreated victims, the rates rise to about 50 percent for bubonic and 100 percent for septicemic.
The bubonic plague, known as the “Black Death” in the Middle Ages, killed between 75 and 200 million people in the 14th century, and at least 30 to 50 million from the year 541 to 549.
China has diagnosed a case of the fatal Bubonic Plague in Inner Mongolia. pic.twitter.com/icGSX1xN30
— Pop Base (@PopBase) July 6, 2020
According to the WHO website, the lung-based pneumonic plague is extremely contagious and “can trigger severe epidemics through person-to-person contact via droplets in the air”.
The plague can be fatal in up to 90 percent of people infected if not treated, primarily with several types of antibiotics.
Bubonic Plague China: Mongolian man most recent victim
After hearing countless tales of ‘the plague’ and the destruction it can cause, one may see these as purely fictional diseases that have ravaged human societies in the past and are mere legend, with no real intersection with today’s modern world. However, this is far from the truth, with recent indicents being reported by China, and this too after spread of the novel coronavirus.
A herdsman in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia was confirmed to be infected with bubonic plague, health officials said, a reminder of how even as the world battles a pandemic caused by a novel virus, old threats remain.
Authorities in a city in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia issued a warning after a hospital reported the case of suspected bubonic plague – one of the deadliest diseases in history.
The health committee of the city of Bayan Nur issued the third-level alert on Sunday, the second lowest in a four-level system.
The alert forbids the hunting and eating of animals that could carry plague and asks the public to report any suspected cases of plague or fever with no clear causes, and to report any sick or dead marmots.
Sunday’s warning follows four reported cases of plague in people from Inner Mongolia last November, including two of pneumonic plague, a more dangerous variant of the disease. At least two of the cases then were diagnosed in the capital, Beijing.
Plague cases are not as uncommon in China as one would think
Bubonic Plague cases are not uncommon in China, but outbreaks have become increasingly rare. From 2009 to 2018, China reported 26 cases and 11 deaths.
In 2014, a man died of the plague in northwestern Gansu province, sparking the quarantine of 151 people.
In November, Beijing officials said two people from Inner Mongolia were found to have pneumonic plague. Pneumonic plague is the only form that can be transmitted person to person, through respiratory droplets.
The 30,000 people living in Yumen, the town where the man died, were also prevented from leaving with police at roadblocks placed on the town perimeter.
In 2009, an outbreak also claimed the lives of several people in the town of Ziketan in Qinghai province on the Tibetan Plateau.
The neighboring country of Mongolia was also investigating a suspected case of bubonic plague involving a 15-year-old, who had apparently been in contact with a marmot hunted by a dog, The Global Times said on Twitter. On Monday, Mongolia announced that it had lifted restrictions in Khovd Province after two cases of bubonic plague linked to the consumption of marmot meat were reported a week ago. Health officials said the patients’ conditions had improved, the Ikon.mn news site reported.
China has vastly improved its detection and management of infectious diseases since the 2003 outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, and the latest coronavirus pandemic, which was first reported in Wuhan in late 2019. Do the new plague cases pose any threat to the future of mankind? Share your view with us in the comments bar.
Do the new plague cases pose any threat to the future of mankind? Share your view with us in the comments bar.