Health authorities in China have confirmed a new case of bubonic plague Sunday, prompting the government to activate an emergency response to prevent the spread of the disease.
The Yunnan Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that a suspected bubonic plague case involving a 3-year-old boy was reported on Thursday, and was diagnosed as a confirmed case on Sunday evening.
Song Zhizhong, director of the Yunnan CDC was quoted saying that the case was not immediately found in sample tests, and was confirmed only after the antibodies related to the plague multiplied in lab test samples taken from the patient.
Soon after, the local government launched a level-IV emergency response in an effort to prevent the spread of the plague.
The boy suffered from a mild infection, but is now in a stable condition after receiving treatment.
The recent findings comes after authorities in the Inner Mongolia region has reported two deaths directly linked to the plague in August, which prompted local officials to impose partial lockdowns and put residents under quarantine.
The case was found when authorities conducted a countywide screening for the disease, and found three rats dead for unknown reasons.
An official from the county government, named Gao, noted that a plague emergency response began as soon as the case has been found, and experts on national and provincial levels have been sent to their county to support the village’s efforts to control the plague.
Meanwhile, deputy head of Peking University’s School of Public Health Wang Peiyu said in an interview that the plague is not likely to spread in Yunnan, but urges the public to stay alert for the possibility of infections.
“Infected rats are a key source of the disease, which also transmits to humans through bites from infected fleas,” said Wang, reminding that the bubonic plague cannot be passed from human to human contact.