A county in Yunnan Province in southwestern China has instituted a level IV emergency response after a 3-year-old boy was diagnosed with bubonic plague.
The boy’s case was mild, he was treated immediately and is on the mend, the Global Times of India reported Sunday.
Health authorities conducted a screening throughout the county after three rats were found dead “for unknown reasons” in a village, the Global Times reported.
The boy’s case was initially suspected, and then confirmed on Sunday, Global Times said.
Bubonic plague is what killed tens of millions of people during the Middle Ages, wiping out about half of Europe’s population. It is spread by rats and other rodents rather than from person-to-person.
“Infected rats are a key source of the disease, which also transmits to humans through bites from infected fleas,” Wang Peiyu, a deputy head of Peking University’s School of Public Health, told Global Times.
He said the disease was unlikely to spread throughout Yunnan but that the public needs to be aware of the potential for infection among rats, where it spreads quickly.
Menghai County is in southwestern China, bordering on Myanmar and Laos, and not far from the country’s borders with Vietnam and Thailand.
In July, a level-three alarm was raised in the Chinese autonomous region of Inner Mongolia, 2,200 miles northeast of Menghai, after a herdsman was diagnosed with the disease.
There are four levels of warning in the Chinese system.
Recommended on Daily News