The Bubonic Plague is a bacterial disease that is spread by fleas living on wild rodents. According to WHO, this plague can kill an adult in less than 24 hours, if not treated in time. The disease is caused by a zoonotic bacteria, Yersinia Pestis, which is usually found in small mammals and their fleas. It majorly spreads from bites of fleas that have fed upon infected creatures like mice, rats, rabbits, squirrels, and other wild rodents.
On Sunday, 5th July 2020, a city in northern China reported two suspected cases of bubonic plague. Right after this, Bayannur and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region announced a level III warning of plague prevention and control in its cities. The Local health authority in China also announced a warning period up until the end of 2020 after these suspected cases were reported on Saturday, 4th July 2020 by a hospital in Bayannur.
Must Read: History of Pandemics in the World
The local authority said, “At present, there is a risk of a human plague epidemic spreading in this city. The public should improve its self-protection awareness and ability, and report abnormal health conditions promptly.” These cases that are being treated at two separate hospitals are two brothers who were reported eating marmot meat. Post this information, health officials also warned people to not eat marmot meat. A total of 146 people so far who were in contact with these two cases have been isolated and treated at local hospitals.
The bubonic plague history
The Bubonic Plague pandemic was caused by the Yersinia Pestis bacterium which lasted from 1346 to 1353. It was the second plague pandemic in the history of the world. It originated in Asia in 1346, from where it further traveled to Crimea in Europe in 1347.
From there on, the plague continued to spread throughout the Mediterranean Basin, eventually being carried by fleas living on black rats. This disease spread out to Africa, Western Asia, and the rest of Europe through Constantinople, Sicily, and the Italian Peninsula.
While antibiotics can now treat the disease, the airborne spread of the highly contagious disease wreaked havoc and frenzy across the entire world. Healthy people were found dead overnight, and sailors started arriving at ports dead, rotting or covered in black contusions of pus and blood. The disease is believed to have been brought under control by strict quarantine measures and public hygiene enactments.
According to WHO, bubonic plague is a rare disease now. From 2010 to 2015, there were 3,248 cases reported worldwide, including 584 deaths. It is now mostly endemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, and Peru.
Bubonic plague deaths – the bubonic plague
Bubonic Plague, also known as Pestilence or Black Death is the most fatal pandemic in human history. This pandemic is believed to have killed nearly 75-200 million people in Eurasia and North Africa between 1346 to 1353. It is also believed that since then, it took nearly 200 years for Europe’s population to recover to its previous level.
What are the symptoms of Bubonic Plague?
Bubonic plague is 1 of the 3 types of plague caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. If someone is affected by Bubonic plague, they witness flu-like symptoms within 1-7 days after exposure to the bacteria.
Bubonic plague symptoms include:
- headache and body ache
- sudden onset of fever
- swollen and painful lymph nodes occur in the area closest to where the bacteria entered the skin
bubonic plague in India – the bubonic plague
This plague entered India in 1994. An outbreak of this plague was witnessed in south-central and western India from 26 August to 18 October 1994. Nearly 693 suspected cases and 56 deaths were reported from the 5 affected Indian states (Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and New Delhi) along with the UT of Gujarat.