Some parts of China are under lockdown after a 3-year-old boy has infected with the bubonic plague.
Doctors confirmed the infection of the child from Menghai county, Yunnan, on Sunday (September 27).
The boy had been tested on Thursday but confirmation was delayed because he had already been given antibiotics, which made diagnosis difficult in initial samples.
The case was spotted as part of a national screening programme against the plague, also know as the "Black Death" infection, prompted by the discovery of three rats that had died of an unknown disease in Xiding, Menghai.
Local disease control authorities confirmed that a severe rat infestation has broken out in the region earlier this month.
The regional government launched a level-IV emergency response to prevent the spread of the plague soon after the case was identified, reports Shanghai-based news website thepaper.cn.
China’s northern neighbour Mongolia has declared that at least 17 out of its total 21 provinces are at risk of bubonic plague.
In August, authorities in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia sealed off an entire village after one inhabitant died from bubonic plague.
The village of Suji Xincun was sealed off and all the homes there disinfected.
Bubonic plague, which is one of the three main forms of plague, causes painful, swollen lymph nodes, as well as fever, chills, and coughing.
The disease caused the deadliest pandemic mankind has ever known, but was almost wiped out with the advent of antibiotics.
In recent years, though, it has made a comeback and the World Health Organisation has classified bubonic plague as a “re-emerging disease.”
People in China and Mongolia have been urged by the authorities to avoid eating wild animals, which can carry the plague bacillus.
In May 2019, a couple in Mongolia died of plague after eating the raw marmot kidney, which is considered to be a good remedy for good health in traditional Chinese medicine.
The marmot is a large, squirrel-like animal that is thought to have been responsible for an outbreak of pneumonic plague in 1911 that caused the deaths of over 63,000 people.
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