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Quarantine Imposed After Plague Death in China

July 23, 2014
Public Health

Part of the centre of Yumen City in the Gansu province of north west China and three sections of nearby Chijin Town just over an hour away have been sealed off after a 38 year old man died of bubonic plague on 16th July.

It is believed the man contracted the disease after chopping up a dead marmot he found on grassland near his home to feed to his dogs. Authorities have put 151 people thought to be contacts under observation but up until now none have shown any symptoms of the disease.

Restrictions on movement affect 30,000 residents in the areas concerned with police setting up road blocks. Health officials were quoted in local media as saying that the matter was under effective control and the isolated areas had enough rice, flour, and oil to last for up to a month.

 Outbreaks of plague in China have been rare in recent years, being confined to rural areas in the west of the country. The last major outbreak led to twelve diagnosed cases and three deaths in Qinghai in 2009.

Plague is categorised as a ‘Class A infectious disease’ in China, the most serious category under the country’s Law on the Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases.   If caught in the early stages bubonic plague which is caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis can be effectively treated with antibiotics.