Authorities in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia have sealed off a village after a resident there died from bubonic plague, a centuries-old disease responsible for the most deadly pandemic in human history.
The death was reported to health authorities in Baotou city on Sunday and the victim was confirmed to be a bubonic plague patient on Thursday, the Baotou Municipal Health Commission said in a statement on its website.The patient died of circulatory system failure, according to the statement. It did not mention how the patient had caught the plague.
To curb the spread of the disease, authorities sealed off Suji Xincun village, where the dead patient lived, and ordered daily disinfection of homes. All villagers have so far tested negative for the disease, the statement said.
Nine close contacts and 26 secondary contacts of the patient have been quarantined and tested negative, the commission said.
Damao Banner, the district where the village is located, has been put on Level 3 alert for plague prevention, the second lowest in a four-level system, until the end of the year.
This is the second case -- and first death -- of bubonic plague China has confirmed this year. The previous case was discovered in July in Bayannur, another city in Inner Mongolia, leading to the issuing of another Level 3 alert and the closure of several tourist spots.
Plague, caused by bacteria and transmitted through flea bites and infected animals, killed an estimated 50 million people in Europe during the Black Death pandemic in the Middle Ages.
Bubonic plague, which is one of plague's three forms, causes painful, swollen lymph nodes, as well as fever, chills, and coughing.
The advent of antibiotics, which can treat most infections if they are caught early enough, has helped to contain plague outbreaks, preventing the type of rapid spread witnessed in Europe in the Middle Ages.
But it has not been eliminated it entirely -- and it has made a recent comeback, leading the World Health Organization (WHO) to categorize it as a re-emerging disease.