The world is in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, so when news broke out that two new cases of the bubonic plague--an old disease from the 1300s-- were reported in China's Inner Mongolia and many were alarmed and asking whether we should be alarmed.
Nevertheless, the Wolrd Health Organization (WHO) has issued a statement, saying that China's cases are "well managed."
New Bubonic Cases in China
In a recent report by TechTimes, the officials in Bayannur, where the two cases were reported, have already issued a Level 3 warning, which is the second-lowest in a four-tier system. It will remain until the end of the year.
Health officials are still investigating how the first patient was infected, but the second was suspected of being infected with bubonic plague after contacting a marmot.
This follows four cases reported in November 2019, wherein two patients had the pneumonic plague, which is the deadliest plague variant.
However, the WHO remains adamant that the bubonic plague cases recently reported are not a high risk.
The Cases are Not High-Risk
"We are monitoring the outbreaks in China, we are watching that closely and in partnership with the Chinese authorities and Mongolian authorities," said WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris in a United Nations press briefing held this Tuesday, July 7, in Geneva. "We are looking at the case numbers in China. It's being well managed."
Harris further said that the bubonic plague has always been with us for centuries, and at the moment, the WHO is "not considering it high-risk."
Moreover, the health agency confirmed that China notified them of the suspected bubonic plague cases in Inner Mongolia on Monday, July 6.
According to Al Jazeera, the bubonic plague, which caused the Black Death pandemic in Africa, Asia, and Europe in the mid-1300s, is rare in China, but four has already died from it since 2014 based on the data acquired from China's National Health Commission.
The agency did say that there are sporadic cases of the plague in China for the last 10 years and that it's only typically found geographical areas around the world where it is still endemic.
The Map of the Plague in Today's World
In a map acquired by the Daily Express, there are still several places around the world where Black Death and the plague are still a threat, and cases have occurred in the last few years, including in China, India, Peru, Congo, and Madagascar.
Most human cases have been reported in Africa, specifically in Madagascar.
The Black Death has also been reported in the Western U.S. and in several other countries like Bolivia, Brazil, South Africa, and Vietnam as an animal disease, which could potentially infect humans through fleas or when a person is exposed to the bodily fluids of an infected animal.
Apart from being rare, the bubonic plague is now treatable, albeit deadly.
Antibiotics that are available nowadays could treat the disease, most likely why the first case from Bayannur was already in a stable condition when the reports came earlier this week.