Three New Cases of Plague Diagnosed in China… But Many Think There Are More

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Officials say the risk of a plague outbreak is low…

But many are concerned that information about the cases is being restricted.

plague outbreak china, plague cases china outbreak, plague cases china outbreak november 2019
This is Yersinia pestis, the bacteria causing plague. Picture by STEVE GSCHMEISSNER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY)

The plague is still around. After a colony of infected prairie dogs shot down parts of Denver, Colorado in August, now three new cases of plague have been diagnosed in China. This is particularly scary knowing how the land of the rising sun is good at hiding information. So, how about an bubonic plague outbreak in China?

The first two cases, a man and his wife from inner Mongolia, were diagnosed with pneumonic plague in an hospital in Beijing on November 12, 2019. This condition is caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis and occurs when a bubonic plague infection spreads to the lungs and is the most deadly form of the disease.

Four days, later, on November 16, a case of bubonic plague was reported in a man, also from Inner Mongolia, most probably contracted after having killed an eaten a wild rabbit.

The couple as well as the ‘hunter’ were quarantined, people who came in contact with the subjects were checked and don’t show any symptoms of plague. Finally, all “relevant sites” were also disinfected.

According to first reports, there is no epidemiological link between the couple and the third man.

As would make any government, Chinese officials have tried to reassure the public, but many are concerned about officials minimizing or even restricting information about the cases.

And they have right. According this blog post, the first two illnesses were confirmed on November 12. But the couple had been transported to the facility on November 3nine days before an announcement was made, raising questions about the reason for the delay. And why her post was taken down by censors.’

And you also might remember what happened back in 2003 when Chinese authorities conceled the true extent of the SARS outbreak and finally admitted that Beijing had experienced 10 times as many cases as they had initially reported.

Just keep in mind that over the centuries, plague has killed millions of people around the world, most famously during the Black Death, which wiped out nearly one-third of Europe’s population in the 1300s.

And although Beijing residents shouldn’t be too worry about a plague infection in their city, remote regions like inner Mongolia, Yunnan and the Qinghai-Tibet plateau are vulnerable to outbreaks. So keep away from wild rats and other rodents!

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