(CNN Español) — One person died of the bubonic plague in China‘s Inner Mongolia region and his death has set off alarms.
The death was reported to health authorities in the city of Baotou on Sunday; the victim was confirmed to be a bubonic plague patient by Thursday, the Baotou Municipal Health Commission said in a release on their website.
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The patient died of circulatory system failure, according to the statement. He did not mention how the patient had contracted the plague.
A suspected case of bubonic plague had already alerted authorities in Inner Mongolia, China’s autonomous region. in early July. It is not for less, the bubonic plague is the disease that caused the pandemic of the black plague, it is one of the deadliest bacteria in history that in the Middle Ages left about 50 million dead in Europe.
This is what you should know:
1. What is it?
It is a disease caused by a bacteria that affects humans and other mammals.
The bacteria is called Yersinia pestis, which exists “in a cycle that involves rodents and their fleas,” explains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Without treatment, it can cause severe symptoms, and even death.
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2. How is it transmitted?
The CDC identifies three types of transmission: through an infected flea bite, through contact with tissues or fluids from a contaminated animal, and through infected droplets.
3. What are the symptoms?
The CDC indicates that symptoms depend on how a patient was exposed to the bacteria, and can generally take three forms: bubonic, septicemic, and pneumonic.
In bubonic fever, headache, chills, weakness, and some type of inflammation occur in the lymph nodes. This usually occurs after a flea bite and if not treated with antibiotics, the CDC says, the bacteria can go to other parts of the body.
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In the septicemic plague, chills, fever and extreme weakness, as well as abdominal pain and bleeding from the skin and other organs, also occur, the CDC says. The skin, tissues of the fingers, toes, and nose can turn black and die. These symptoms usually occur after an infected flea bite or handling an animal with the disease.
Finally there are the symptoms of pneumonic plague, which resemble the previous two in fever, headache and weakness, to which respiratory problems are added, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, cough and, sometimes , the CDC says, bloody or watery mucus. This is the most dangerous form of the disease, and also the one that is transmitted from human to human by infected droplets.
4. In which parts of the world have cases been detected?
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“The three most endemic countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar and Peru. In Madagascar, cases of bubonic plague are reported almost every year, during the epidemic season (between September and April), “says the WHO.
In the United States, it often occurs in the northern regions of New Mexico, northern Arizona, and southern Colorado, as well as California, southern Oregon, and the far west of Nevada, the CDC says.
5. How is it diagnosed?
Confirmation of the disease is done with a laboratory test of a sample of pus from an inflamed node, blood, or sputum, says the WHO. The CDC says the most common symptom Of the plague are these swollen glands, which doctors can take as a sign if the patient has traveled to one of the areas where the disease occurs.
6. How fatal is it?
If left untreated, the pest can be deadly. The plague that causes pneumonia can be fatal 18 to 24 hours after it develops, says the WHO.
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7. How can it be treated?
According to WHO, diagnosing and treating the disease in its early stages is essential for the patient to survive and avoid complications. Common antibiotics cure the disease.
8. How to control it?
The WHO outlines several steps to curb outbreaks, including finding the source of the infection, protecting health professionals, seeking appropriate treatment, isolating patients, monitoring contacts of the infected, obtaining samples, hand disinfection and surfaces, and safe burial and body-handling practices.
With information from Jessie Yeung