China’s Inner Mongolia has reported a fresh, confirmed case of bubonic plague despite an earlier declaration by the country’s health officials that the risk of an outbreak was minimal.
Bubonic plague is the most common form of plague globally and can advance and spread to the lungs, becoming a more severe type called pneumonic plague, according to the World Health Organisation.
The Inner Mongolia case follows two that were confirmed earlier this month in Beijing.
The Inner Mongolia health commission said it found no evidence so far to link the most recent case to the earlier two cases in Beijing.
The patient in Inner Mongolia is now isolated and treated at a hospital in Ulanqab, the health commission said.
Outbreaks in China have been rare, but large parts of the northwestern city of Yumen were sealed off in 2014 after a 38-year-old resident died of bubonic plague, known as Black Death in the Middle Ages and caused by the same bacterium as the pneumonic variant.
Rodent populations have risen in Inner Mongolia after persistent droughts, worsened by climate change.
18 Nov 2019