While the world continues to brave coronavirus pandemic, China has sounded alert over the bubonic plague. A suspected case of bubonic plague has been identified in the city of Bayan Nur, People’s Daily Online reported. Authorities in China have issued a warning of the plague in Inner Mongolia, which is an autonomous region, and urged citizens to follow necessary precautions.

Between 2010 to 2015, there were 3,248 cases reported worldwide, including 584 deaths.

Before you start panicking, know what is bubonic plague and how can it spread to humans. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that the disease is primarily caused by a bacterial infection. It can reportedly infect human beings from the consumption of raw meat of a marmot – a type of rodent. However, it is reported not to be fatal if treated with commonly available antibiotics. PTI quoted the local health authority saying, “At present, there is a risk of a human plague epidemic spreading in this city. The public should improve its self-protection awareness and ability, and report abnormal health conditions promptly.” According to reports, a Level three warning period (the second-lowest in a four-tier system) will continue in the region until the end of 2020.

What You Should Know

  • Bubonic plague case has been reported from China.
  • Madagascar saw more than 300 cases during an outbreak in 2017.
  • In May last year, two people in the country of Mongolia died from the plague.
  • As per reports, they were infected after eating the raw meat of a marmot – a type of rodent.

New findings prove that bubonic plague can also spread from bites of fleas that have fed upon infected creatures like mice, rats, rabbits, and squirrels. According to WHO, if infected you will have painful swollen lymph nodes but they usually develop after three to seven days and the symptoms are mostly flu-like. Between 2010 to 2015, there were 3,248 cases reported worldwide, including 584 deaths. 

“Unlike in the 14th Century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted,” Dr Shanti Kappagoda, an infectious diseases doctor at Stanford Health Care, said, BBC reported. “We know how to prevent it. We are also able to treat patients who are infected with effective antibiotics.”

Also Read: Kerala: Girl Who Climbed Rooftop To Attend Online Classes Gets High Speed Internet

History of Bubonic plague

In the 14th Century, the extremely deadly Black Death caused around 50 million deaths across Africa, Asia and Europe. There was also a terrifying outbreak in London known as the Great Plague of 1665, During that time, it killed about a fifth of the city’s inhabitants. In the 19th Century again, there was an outbreak in China and India, which killed more than 12 million. Madagascar witnessed more than 300 bubonic cases during an outbreak in 2017. Similarly, in May last year, two people in the country of Mongolia died from the plague.

Impact on women

A Citibank research has estimated that over 220 million women are employed in sectors that are potentially vulnerable to job cuts under the current situation. It further noted that out of 44 million workers in vulnerable sectors globally, 31 million women face potential job cuts, as compared to 13 million men.

Be it a pandemic caused by a virus or an outbreak of bubonic plague, the social repercussions in such cases are often borne more by women than men. And it is not just on the work front.  A new study suggests a higher relative-risk of COVID-19 mortality among women in India. Also, a total of 1,477 complaints of domestic violence were received by The National Commission for Women between March 25 and May 31, in 2020.

Image Credit: Facundo Arrizaba BALAGA/ The Conversation

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