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31 people die after BUBONIC PLAGUE outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo

A bubonic plague outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has seen several dozen people succumb to the long-feared disease, which caused Europe’s Black Death pandemic in the 14th century.

Multiple cases of the plague were identified in the Biringi area of Ituri Province in northeastern DR Congo between November 15 and December 13, Anne Laudisoit of New York-based NGO, Ecohealth Alliance, told AFP.

At least 520 people have become ill and “more than 31” of them have died, Ituri Health Minister Patrick Karamura told the outlet.

The vast majority of cases involved bubonic plague, with the exception of five instances of pneumonic plague and two instances of septicemic plague, which occur when the disease spreads to the lungs or blood, respectively.

Younger people were most affected, with the average age of patients being only 13. Among those infected was a three-month-old baby, according to Laudisoit.

The plague, which is caused by Yersinia pestis bacterium, is endemic to the province where it was first confirmed in 1926. Outbreaks occur regularly, with the World Health Organization (WHO) also issuing an alert over spiking cases of the disease in Ituri’s Rethy region in July last year.

The latest outbreak began with mass deaths among rats, which had been infected by germ-carrying fleas in their fur. Those fleas then started to look for new hosts and shifted onto humans, infecting them through their bites.

Bubonic plague is the most common form of the disease, which occurs after the bacillus travels through the blood and attacks the nearest lymph node. Those swollen and painful lymph nodes that can sometimes break open are known as ‘buboes’. Other symptoms include fever, headaches and vomiting.

The so-called Black Death, which according to various estimates killed between a third and a half of Europe’s population in the mid-14th century, while also heavily hitting North Africa and Asia, was the largest pandemic in human history and was caused by bubonic plague.

The fearsome disease is now curable with several types of antibiotics. However, without proper treatment, the plague can cause death in between 30 to 90 percent of those infected.

However, getting proper medical attention in DR Congo is often difficult as its health system suffers from lack of funding and is hampered by the activity of various militant groups. Besides the plague, the Central African country is also challenged by episodic Ebola outbreaks, malaria, cholera, HIV and other diseases.

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China bubonic plague spreads: 17 provinces now infected after alarming new cases #BubonicPlague #China

Bubonic Plague Alert

Three more cases of the virus have now been discovered in the central Mongolian province of Uvurkhangai. With this new cluster of cases, the health ministry has confirmed that almost every province in the country now has an active outbreak. Due to its proximity on the border with China, there are increased concerns the deadly infectious disease may soon migrate across.

Dorj Narangerel, head of public relations and surveillance department of the health ministry said: “Three suspected cases of the plague are now under isolation at a local hospital.

“They are members of the same family or mother and her two children.”

This means 17 out of the 21 provinces in the country have now reported outbreaks.

Indeed, China had also reported outbreaks of the bubonic plague in the northern region of Inner Mongolia in July and earlier this month.

Due to the outbreak, China placed a lockdown on the region in order to stop a catastrophic pandemic spreading throughout the country again.

A death was reported in the city of Bayannur due to organ failure after contracting the deadly disease.

Authorities in his village of Bayannur said: “The place of residence of the deceased is locked down, and a comprehensive epidemiological investigation is being carried out.

“Currently, there is a risk of the human plague spreading in our city.”

Another person also died after contracting the virus in the nearby city of Baotou.

Due to the impact of the coronavirus, Chinese health officials have moved quickly to quarantine any town or city at risk of the bubonic to stop a second pandemic from occurring.

The bubonic plague, which caused the Black Death, is transmitted by fleas which usually live on rodents.

As a result of the mountainous terrain in Mongolia and northern China, there is a high number of rodents potentially carrying the virus.

Such was the potency of the disease, it caused 50 million deaths across Europe in the Middle Ages.

The virus can cause a victim’s limbs or body parts to become blackened hence why it was called the Black Death.

Although the recent spike has been largely confined to South East Asia, a case was also reported in California.

A positive case was discovered in the Lake Tahoe region of the state earlier this month.

This was the first time any such case was reported in five years.

Health Officer Nancy Williams said: “Plague is naturally present in many parts of California, including higher elevation areas of El Dorado County.

“It’s important that individuals take precautions for themselves and their pets when outdoors, especially while walking, hiking and/or camping in areas where wild rodents are present.

“Human cases of plague are extremely rare but can be very serious.”

Crucially, there is now treatment for the virus if it is detected early enough.

However, certain countries hunt rodents which are a core part of their diet.

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Squirrel tests positive for the bubonic plague in Colorado, USA #BubonicPlague #Squirrel #Colorado #USA

Bubonic Plague Alert

Public health officials have announced that a squirrel in Colorado has tested positive for the bubonic plague.

The town of Morrison, Colorado, in Jefferson County, which is just west of Denver, made the announcement saying that the squirrel is the first case of plague in the county this year.

“Plague is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis, and can be contracted by humans and household animals if proper precautions are not taken,” officials from Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) said in a statement released to the public.

MORE: Police look for woman who deliberately coughed on a 1-year-old baby after argument with mother
It is possible for humans to be infected with the bubonic plague through bites from infected fleas and by direct contact with blood or tissues of infected animals such as a cough or a bite.

Jefferson County Public Health said that cats are highly susceptible to the plague from things like flea bites, a rodent scratch or bite, and ingesting an infected rodent. Cats can die if not treated quickly with antibiotics after contact with the plague.

Officials also said that dogs are not as susceptible to the plague as cats are but still may pick up and carry plague-infected rodent fleas. Any pet owner who suspects that their pet is ill should contact a veterinarian immediately.

“Symptoms of plague may include sudden onset of high fever, chills, headache, nausea and extreme pain and swelling of lymph nodes, occurring within two to seven days after exposure. Plague can be effectively treated with antibiotics when diagnosed early. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should consult a physician,” said JCPH.

Risk for contracting the bubonic plague is extremely low as long as the proper precautions are taken and JCPH published a list of them including eliminating all sources of food, shelter and access for wild animals around the home, not feeding wild animals, maintaining a litter and trash-free yard to reduce wild animal habitats, having people and pets should avoid all contact with sick or dead wild animals and rodents, using precaution when handling sick pets and having them examined by a veterinarian, consulting with a veterinarian about flea and tick control for pets and keeping pets from roaming freely outside the home where they may prey on wild animals and bring the disease home with them.

“All pet owners who live close to wild animal populations, such as prairie dog colonies or other known wildlife habitats, should consult their veterinarian about flea control for their pets to help prevent the transfer of fleas to humans,” JCPH said.

According to the CDC, even though there is no vaccine for the plague, it can be treated successfully with antibiotics if caught within 24 hours of exhibiting symptoms.

“Arguably the most infamous plague outbreak was the so-called Black Death, a multi-century pandemic that swept through Asia and Europe,” according to National Geographic. “It was believed to start in China in 1334, spreading along trade routes and reaching Europe via Sicilian ports in the late 1340s. The plague killed an estimated 25 million people, almost a third of the continent’s population. The Black Death lingered on for centuries, particularly in cities. Outbreaks included the Great Plague of London (1665-66), in which 70,000 residents died.”

However, the CDC says that there is now only an average of seven human plague cases per year and the WHO says the mortality rate is estimated to be between 8-10%.

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China bubonic plague: Inner Mongolia takes precautions after case #BubonicPlague #Mongolia #China

Bubonic Plague Alert

Authorities in China have stepped up precautions after a city in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region confirmed one case of bubonic plague.

According to state reports, the Bayannur patient – a herdsman – is in quarantine and in a stable condition.

Officials said they were also investigating a second suspected case, according to China’s Global Times.

The bubonic plague was once the world’s most feared disease, but can now be easily treated.

The first case was reported as suspected bubonic plague on Saturday at a hospital in Urad Middle Banner, in Bayannur city. It is not yet clear how or why the patient might have become infected.

The second suspected case involves a 15-year-old, who had apparently been in contact with a marmot hunted by a dog, a tweet from Global Times said.

A level 3 alert, which forbids the hunting and eating of animals that could carry plague and calls on the public to report suspected cases, has been put in place until the end of the year.

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#BubonicPlague outbreak sees medics board #plane and #quarantine #passengers who flew from #Mongolian region

Bubonic Plague Alert

This is the alarming moment that paramedics in hazmat suits were forced to board a plane in Mongolia amid fears of a bubonic plague outbreak.

Emergency workers intercepted the domestic flight at the airport in the capital Ulaanbaatar, after a husband and wife died of the contagious disease in the region where the flight originated.

According to reports they had eaten contaminated meat from a marmot, a large squirrel.

Eleven passengers from the west of the country were held at the airport and sent immediately for hospital checks while others were examined at the airport.

A passenger watches from an aircraft seat as the paramedics go about their work
Alarming: Paramedics wearing hazmat suits board a flight in Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar

Paramedics in anti-contamination suits boarded the flight from provincial outposts Bayan, Ulgii and Khovd as soon as it landed.

Some 158 people have been put under intensive medical supervision in Bayan-Ulgii province after coming into contact directly or indirectly with the couple who died.

Some frontier check points with Russia are reported to have been closed leading to foreign tourists being stranded in Mongolia.

A man named Citizen T, aged 38, died on April 27 after hunting and eating marmot meat.

His pregnant wife, 37, died three days later, reported The Siberian Times, leaving their four children orphaned.

Top medic Dr N. Tsogbadrakh said the plague had ‘affected the man’s stomach’ after he ate the meat and gave it to his wife.

The bubonic plague can kill an adult in less than 24 hours if not treated in time, according to the World Health Organisation.

It is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, which is usually found in small mammals and their fleas.

The bacterium was linked to the Black Death which wiped out more than a third of Europe’s population in the 14th century and to subsequent plague outbreaks.

The disease is now treatable with antibiotics but hundreds of people have died of it around the world in recent years.

Since the 1990s, most human cases have occurred in Africa, according to world health bosses.

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Black plague outbreak kills 40 in Madagascar

Bubonic Plague Alert

An outbreak of plague in Madagascar has killed 40 people and infected almost 80 others, the World Health Organization has said
The WHO warned of the danger of a “rapid spread” of the disease in the capital, Antananarivo.
 
The situation is worsened by high levels of resistance among fleas to a leading insecticide, the WHO added.
 
Humans usually develop the bubonic form of the plague after being bitten by an infected flea carried by rodents.
 
If diagnosed early, bubonic plague can be treated with antibiotics.
Men spraying insecticide in Madagascar
But 2% of the cases in Madagascar are the more dangerous pneumonic form of the disease, which can be spread person-to-person by coughing.
 
The first known case in the outbreak was a man in Soamahatamana village in the district of Tsiroanomandidy, about 200km west of Antananarivo, at the end of August.
 
There have been two confirmed cases in the capital, including one death.
 
“There is now a risk of a rapid spread of the disease due to the city’s high population density and the weakness of the healthcare system,” the WHO said.
 
A task force has been activated to manage the outbreak.
 
Last year health experts warned that the island was facing a plague epidemic unless it slowed the spread of the disease. It said that inmates in Madagascar’s rat-infested jails were particularly at risk.
A map of Soamahatamana

Bubonic plague death: Town of 30,000 placed in quarantine after man dies sparking ‘Black Death’ outbreak fears in China

Bubonic Plague Alert

An entire Chinese town of 30,000 people has been quarantined off from the rest of the country after a man living in a nearby village died from bubonic plague.

Police have now had the old town of Yumen city in Gansu province sealed off for more than a week, the Xinhua state media agency said, after a patient died in a local hospital.

All movement between the centre of Yumen and the wider suburban area has been banned, with officers manning 10 checkpoints around the sealed-off district.

According to Xinhua, no one inside the city is currently believed to have contracted the plague, though 151 people who may have come into contact with the man have been placed under direct observation.

Investigators said they think the villager was herding in his fields when he killed a marmot – a small rodent – to cut up and feed to his dog.

He suffered a fever and was admitted to hospital in Yumen, but died last Wednesday. Police initiated the process of locking down the city, as well as the man’s home village and town and the fields where he had been working.

The cause of death was confirmed as the plague on Thursday, the South China Morning Post reported.

Health officials were quoted in Gansu’s local media saying that it appeared the plague had been put under effective control, and that the isolated areas had sufficient stocks of rice, flour and oil to last “for up to one month” if needed.

Bubonic plague is a bacterial infection that wiped out roughly half the population of Europe in the 14th century millions more during an outbreak in China in the 19th century.

It has been identified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as one of the world’s most deadly infectious diseases.

Though antibiotic treatments are now available to combat the disease, without them patients can die within 24 hours of infection.

It is spread largely through flea bites and can cause gangrene, seizures and fever.