Two people have been diagnosed with pneumonic plague in Beijing, China, local health authorities confirmed Tuesday.
According to government sources, two patients from north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region were diagnosed with pneumonic plague, which doctors in Beijing confirmed Tuesday. The patients have received proper treatment. All relevant disease prevention and control measures have been taken.
Plague is caused by bacteria and transmitted through infected animals or fleabites. There are 3 different forms of the disease: bubonic, which causes swollen lymph nodes, septicemic, which infects the blood, and pneumonic, which infects the lungs.
Pneumonic plague is almost always fatal if left untreated.
Plague outbreaks killed around 50 million people in medieval Europe. The invention of antibiotics has made the disease treatable, but it’s far from eradicated.
According to the World Health Organization, from 2010 to 2015 more than 3,248 cases were reported worldwide, including 584 deaths. The three most endemic countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, and Peru.