Chinese authorities have placed 151 people in quarantine and sealed off an entire city after a man died from bubonic plague.
A 38-year-old man died from the plague last Wednesday in the north-western city of Yumen after reportedly being in contact with a dead marmot, a large species of squirrel that inhabits mountainous regions across much of the world.
In response to his death and how quickly the disease can spread in densely populated areas, such as cities, Chinese authorities have sealed off the city to prevent a wider outbreak.
There have been no reports of additional infections in Yumen, but the quarantine and city shut down are being implemented as a precaution. Chinese authorities say that the city has enough rice, flour, and oil to supply the 30,000 residents for the next month, according to the South China Morning Post.
bubonic plague is caused by the Yersinia pestis bacteria, which is generally transmitted through the bite of an infected flea, which can be found on infected animals such as rodents, including marmots. In some cases, the bubonic plague can lead to other forms of plague such as septicemic plague or pneumonic plague which can then be spread directly from person to person after contact with infected tissue or through coughs and sneezes.
Treatment with antibiotics reduces the mortality rate from Bubonic plague from 40-60% down to 1-15%, but potentially infected people must start receiving treatment within 24 hours of the first symptoms for the medicine to have an effect.
Bubonic plague, along with septicemic plague and pneumonic plague, is commonly believed to be the cause of the Black Death that swept through Europe in the 14th century and killed an estimated 25 million people, or 30–60% of the European population.