First Case of Bubonic Plague Reported in China.

Author: Muhammad Rehan Mian (MSPH) | Proofread: Dr. Nain Zahra Agha (MBBS) | Review:  Dr. Umair Haider (MBBS) | July 13, 2020

The Bayannar City Health Commission reported the first case of bubonic plague in a herder on Sunday, July 5, 2020. The reported case is in a stable condition in the hospital. The Bayannar City Health Commission issued a third level alert. It is the disease that caused black death in the middle ages. 

It is a zoonotic disease and is caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis. It affects rodents and is transmitted by fleas from rodents to other animals and to humans. Direct person-to-person transmission does not occur except in the case of pneumonic plague, which was also being reported in November 2019, in inner Mongolia. Bubonic plague is the form that usually results from the bite of an infected flea.

Lymphadenitis develops in the draining lymph nodes, with the regional lymph nodes being most affected. Swelling, pain and suppuration of the lymph nodes produces the characteristic plague buboes. 

Plague can be a very severe disease in people, with a case-fatality ratio of 30% to 60% for the bubonic type and is always fatal for the pneumonic kind when left untreated. Antibiotic treatment is effective against plague bacteria, so early diagnosis and early treatment can save lives.

Prevention includes:

  • Reduce rodent habitat around you by removing rodent supplies.
  • Fill holes and gaps in your home to stop mice, rats, and squirrels from getting in.
  • Wear gloves if you are handling potentially infected animals.
  • Use a repellent if you are working outdoor or having other outdoor activities.
  • Keep your pets flea-free by applying fleas control products.
  • Do not let outdoor pets like a dog or cats to sleep in your bed.

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