Health

Residents Of Chinese Town Face Quarantine After Man Dies Of Bubonic Plague

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A town in China with a population of 30,000 has been sealed off after a man died of bubonic plague last week, state media reported Tuesday.

No one can enter or leave the city of Yumen, in northwest Gansu province, and 151 residents are facing quarantine after exposure to the 38-year-old victim.

The man recently picked up a dead marmot, a large animal related to the squirrel, which he planned to feed to his dog, state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) says.

He chopped up the marmot and developed a fever the same day. His condition worsened and he died in a hospital on Wednesday.

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As of Tuesday, no new cases have been reported.

“Local residents and those in quarantine are all in stable condition,” CCTV reports. "The city has enough rice, flour and oil to supply all its residents for up to one month.”

Bubonic plague is classified as a “Class A infectious disease, the most serious under China's Law on the Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases,” the official news agency Xinhua says.

Modern antibiotics are effective at treating the disease, according to the CDC.

"People most commonly acquire plague when they are bitten by a flea that is infected with the plague bacteria," the CDC website says. "People can also become infected from direct contact with infected tissues or fluids while handling an animal that is sick with or that has died from plague. Finally, people can become infected from inhaling respiratory droplets after close contact with cats and humans with pneumonic plague."

It is unclear whether the man's dog also became infected.

Sources: Yahoo! News, Channel NewsAsia

Image credit: François Trazzi, CDC