What is the possibility of a bubonic plague outbreak?

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Bubonic plague, scratching squirrel

The bubonic plague caused the deadliest ever pandemic in the 14th century. In the Middle Ages, the plague was called Black Death, and the estimated death toll was 50 million. On July 11, Colorado health officials confirmed that a squirrel tested positive for bubonic plague.

What role does China play in pandemics worldwide?

There is nothing that says China had anything to do with the Colorado squirrel’s positive test. Is it only me wondering? On July 7, authorities in China issued a bubonic plague warning after one person died of the disease in Mongolia. Furthermore, they reported three other cases of plague infections confirmed last year. The plague prevention plan will remain in effect until the end of the year.

How does the bubonic plague spread?

Bacteria called Yersinia pestis cause infection in the lymphatic system. Infection in both humans and animals is possible. In most cases, fleas carry the bacteria from infected animals to humans. Animals known to become infected include hares, squirrels and rodents. Human to human transmission is unlikely, except via cough droplets in the air.

Even if you have no contact with the infected animal, your dog could pick up infected fleas. A bite from such a flea can spread the bacteria to you. Although modern antibiotics can prevent death from the bubonic plague, delay in receiving treatment could lead to complications and death.

Third-level alert issued here

U.S. health authorities issued a third-level alert warning people of the risks when hunting, transporting or eating potentially infected animals. Such reports naturally cause concern amid the Novel Coronavirus pandemic worldwide.

Symptoms of bubonic plague

There may be little chance of you coming into contact with infected animals or fleas. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to take note of the symptoms because immediate treatment is crucial. Some of the symptoms can indicate other conditions, but after contact with animals, it should raise red flags.

Symptoms include swollen and painful lymph nodes, vomiting, fever, coughing and chills. In addition, there might be organ failure, bleeding and open sores. Without immediate treatment, bacteria can spread to the lungs, causing pneumonia or pneumonic plague.

Rest assured

Although the reports of new cases of bubonic plague in China might cause concern, health authorities say no risk of a plague exists. Unlike the COVID-19 virus, a pandemic of bubonic plague is out of the question because existing antibiotics can prevent and cure the disease.

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