A confirmed case of the bubonic plague has resulted in the establishment of a quarantine in Northern China. A hunter reportedly contracted the long-feared illness, leading to 28 people in the Inner Mongolia province to be contained.
China’s state-run media reported that the hunter is believed to have caught the illness after eating a wild rabbit. This comes less than a week after two cases of the pneumonic plague were confirmed in the capital city of Beijing.
The bubonic strain of this disease is the more common variation of the disease and can be contracted from things like fleas or consuming infected animals, as likely happened in this case. The pneumonic variation is less common but is more likely to spread from person to person.
This latter variant is the strain believed to have caused “The Black Death,” a vicious pandemic of the plague that killed 75-200 million people in Europe, Asia, and Africa in the 14th century.
Chinese media has said that these cases in Inner Mongolia and Beijing are not connected. However, this has been the second confirmed in the province in the past year.
According to the World Health Organization, roughly 1,000 people a year still contract some version of the plague, despite it being mostly associated with the 14th century. It is most often found in countries like Madagascar, Peru and the Congo. It was last reported in America in 2015 when two cases were confirmed in Colorado.
Scientists analyzed the genomes of plague bacteria found in prehistoric human remains to better understand how the disease spread through Europe. Photo: Stadtarchäologie Augsburg