Home International Bubonic plague in China not seen as high risk – WHO spokeswoman

Bubonic plague in China not seen as high risk – WHO spokeswoman

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World Health Organization says it is 'carefully monitoring' outbreaks

Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers wearing face masks to protect against the spread of the new coronavirus march past a banner depicting Chinese President Xi Jinping inside the Tiananmen Gate in Beijing. File picture: Andy Wong/AP

AN APPARENT outbreak of bubonic plague in China is being “well managed” and is not considered to represent a high risk, a World Health Organization (WHO) official said.

Local authorities in the city of Bayan Nur in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia issued a warning on Sunday, one day after a hospital reported a case of suspected bubonic plague. It followed four reported cases of plague in people there last November, including two of pneumonic plague, a deadlier variant.

“We are monitoring the outbreaks in China, we are watching that closely and in partnership with the Chinese authorities and Mongolian authorities,” WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris told a UN press briefing in Geneva on Tuesday.

“At the moment we are not … considering it high risk but we are watching it, monitoring it carefully,” she added.

The bubonic plague, known as the “Black Death” in the Middle Ages, is a highly infectious and often fatal disease that is spread mostly by rodents. Cases are not uncommon in China although they are becoming increasingly rare. 

– Reuters