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Chinese city issues PLAGUE epidemic warnings as victim dies

A Chinese city has locked down a neighbourhood and issued level-three epidemic warnings for plague after one of its residents died of the disease, according to a government notice.

The city of Baotou in northern China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region said the person had contracted the enteric plague, one of the four forms of plague which attacks a person’s digestive system.

The unidentified individual died on Sunday after suffering circulatory system failure, the Baotou Health Committee said in a statement on Thursday.  

The news comes as the northern Chinese region detected a case of bubonic plague last month.

A herdsman from Bayan Nur in Inner Mongolia was confirmed on July 4 to have the disease, known as the ‘Black Death’ in the Middle Ages. 

The latest fatality occurred at the Suji Estate at the town of Shibao in Darhan Muminggan United Banner near the Chinese border with Mongolia, the statement announced.

Officials have ordered the city to enter a precautionary warning period, which is set to last from today till the end of the year.

Authorities have isolated nine people who had had close contact with the deceased, as well as their respective close contacts which amounted to 26.

All of the 35 quarantined residents have been sent to isolation camps, given precautionary drugs and taken polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, which detect the bacterium that causes plague.

None of them had a fever, and all their test results were negative, the statement said.

Officials locked down Suji Estate to prevent the spread of the disease.

The government admitted that the city was facing a potential epidemic of plague among humans.

Authorities said they had carried out door-to-door health checks for the locals and increased the intensity of anti-epidemic education.

They added that workers were thoroughly disinfecting the home of the deceased as well as the surrounding farmhouses daily. Officials have also launched a campaign to kill fleas and rodents.

None of the residents in Suji had a fever or tested positive for plague, the notice said.

Enteric plague, also known as the pharyngeal plague, can arise as a result of exposure to infectious aerosols or by ingestion of infected meat.

It is less common than the bubonic plague, one of the most devastating diseases in history, or the pneumonic plague, a severe lung infection.

The other type of plague, the septicemic plague, affects a person’s blood systems. 

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