A herdsman in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia was confirmed to be infected with bubonic plague, health officials said, a reminder of how even as the world battles a pandemic caused by a novel virus, old threats remain. The Bayannur city health commission said the plague was diagnosed in the herdsman on Sunday, and he was in stable condition undergoing treatment at a hospital. The commission also issued a third-level alert, the second lowest in a four-level system, warning people against hunting, eating or transporting potentially infected animals, particularly marmots, and to report any dead or diseased rodents. The city government said it had put in place plague-prevention measures that would remain in force for the rest of the year. The disease, which caused the Black Death in the Middle Ages, is caused by the Yersinia pestis bacterium and is transmitted by fleas that become infected by rodents.
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The World Health Organization WHO says it is "carefully monitoring" a case of bubonic plague in China's northern Inner Mongolia region, but says that it is "not high risk". Spokeswoman Margaret Harris said: "Bubonic plague has been with us and is always with us, for centuries. We are looking at the case numbers in China. It's being well managed. The WHO said it was informed on Monday of the case of the herdsman, who is being treated at a hospital in Bayannur.
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CNN First, they felt pain all over their body. More Videos What is the plague?
The Black Death , a medieval pandemic that was likely the bubonic plague, is generally associated with Europe. This is not surprising since it killed an estimated one-third of the European population in the 14th century. However, the Bubonic Plague actually started in Asia and devastated many areas of that continent as well. Unfortunately, the course of the pandemic in Asia is not as thoroughly documented as it is for Europe—however, the Black Death does appear in records from across Asia in the s and s noting that the disease spread terror and destruction wherever it arose. Many scholars believe that the bubonic plague began in northwestern China, while others cite southwestern China or the steppes of Central Asia.