Bubonic Plague in Mongolia: Recent Update

Published: July 15, 2020

The Health Ministry of Mongolia has issued a statement that a case of bubonic plague has been confirmed as positive in Govi-Altai province of the country. This was confirmed after the polymerase chain reaction test on the 15-year old boy who had died on July 12th, 2020.  The boy had marmot meat three days back, along with his friends and that is suspected to the reason behind his death from bubonic plague.

What is Bubonic Plague?

It is a bacterial disease that is normally spread by fleas inhabiting wild rodents such as marmots. Once infected, this disease can kill an adult in less than 24 hours if not treated with proper medication. In May 2019 also, two people were reported to have died from this disease after consuming raw meat of a marmot.

The symptoms of the disease include high fever, nausea, weakness, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpit, groin etc. Though it can be treated with antibiotic, the disease has registered mortality rate of around 30-60 percent.

Historical Background

Bubonic Plague is known to have caused one of the deadliest catastrophes in the world, known as the Black Death. It killed around 50 million people across several continents such as Asia, Africa and Europe. This has also been responsible for the death of at least one-fifth of the total population of London in 1665. In India and China also, around 12 million died because of bubonic plague during the 19th century.

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