A county in southwestern China declared an emergency after detecting a case of the bubonic plague over the weekend.
The patient, a 3-year-old boy from a remote village, was suspected of harboring the infectious disease on Thursday, shortly after three rats were found to have mysteriously died, according to Global Times.
To prevent a possible outbreak, Menghai county authorities launched a level-four emergency response, which saw the arrival of multiple medical teams and government officials, according to their news release.
The boy, who showed mild symptoms, was diagnosed with the bubonic plague and has been stable following treatment.
As part of the emergency response, the teams of medical workers carried out inspections, imposed quarantines and assessed individuals affected with fever.
Menghai authorities first determined the presence of bubonic plague in the town of Xiding on Sept. 21, which prompted a county-wide screening that confirmed the boy’s case.
However, because the child had taken antibiotics, it took several tests to detect plague bacilli in his system.
Authorities urged the public to seek medical attention in the presence of fever and warned against spreading and believing in rumors.
News of the toddler’s infection comes after China’s Inner Mongolia reported two deaths due to plague in August. The patients were diagnosed with “intestinal-type plague” and bubonic plague and later died of “circulatory system failure” and multiple organ failure, respectively.
The plague killed 50 million in Europe and was called the “Black Death” in the 14th century. It comes in three main forms: bubonic, septicemic and pneumonic.
“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,” World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson Margaret Harris said in July in response to the Inner Mongolia cases.
“At the moment, we are not … considering it high risk.”
Feature Image via NTDAPTV