The Chinese authorities recently received a report of a suspected case of bubonic plague or black plague
It is not yet known how the patient contracted the plague, and the country has declared a state of high alert in anticipation of reporting more cases.
Plague is one of the deadliest diseases in human history and has a long history in the Middle East
What is bubonic plague?
Plague is a deadly infectious disease caused by a bacterium called Yersinia, which lives in some animals, especially rodents and fleas.
Plague, the most common type of disease that can affect humans, takes its name from the symptoms it causes, such as swollen, painful lymph nodes or swelling in the groin or armpit.
Between 2010 and 2015, 3,248 injuries and 584 deaths were reported globally.
In the past, the disease was also known as the black death, referring to the death of certain parts of the body, such as the fingers and toes, from the disease.
What happens when you get bubonic plague?
People infected with bubonic plague usually feel sick two to six days after infection.
In addition to swollen lymph nodes, which can be as large as an egg, other symptoms include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. The bacteria can also enter the bloodstream and cause a so-called sepsis.
Plague also affects the lungs, causing coughing, chest pain, and difficulty breathing.
Bacteria can also enter the bloodstream and cause sepsis, which can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death.
How does infection occur in the black plague?
A person is infected by:
- Infected flea bites.
- Touching infected animals such as rats and mice.
- Inhalation of droplets transmitted by an infected person or animal from the infected respiratory tract.
Domestic cats and dogs can also become infected by flea bites or by eating infected rodents.
The infection can also spread to the body through a cut of the skin if a person has been in close contact with the blood of an infected animal.
Chinese authorities are currently warning against hunting and eating animals that could be carriers of the plague.
The corpse of an infected person who died of the plague can also spread the disease to those who have been in close contact with them, such as those preparing to bury the corpse.
Is there a cure for bubonic plague?
Prompt treatment with antibiotics is critical, as the disease can be fatal if left untreated.
Early diagnosis and lab tests using blood and other body samples may save lives, too.
Could the plague spread again and become a global epidemic?
Plague persists in many parts of the world, with outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Madagascar in recent years.
Although the plague was responsible for widespread disease outbreaks in the Middle Ages, any outbreaks today would, fortunately, be limited.
“It’s a good idea to monitor and report this early, which leads to isolation, treatment and prevention of transmission,” said Matthew Dryden, consultant microbiologist at the University of Southampton in the UK.
He added: “Bubonic plague is caused by bacteria, and unlike COVID-19, plague is easily treatable with antibiotics. Although this may sound alarming, it is another infectious disease that originated in the East, and so far only one case appears to be easily treatable. .
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