A 3-year-old boy in China was infected with bubonic plague, according to a report.
The baby, from Menghai County, Yunnan Province in southwest China, suffered a mild infection but is now in stable condition after treatment, the Global Times of India reported. No other infections have reportedly been identified.
The boy’s case came to light following a nationwide screening for the disease, which was initiated after “three rats were found dead for unknown reasons in a village,” the store said.
Known as the “black death”, bubonic plague can be fatal in up to 90% of infected people if left untreated, mainly with different types of antibiotics. An epidemic in the Middle Ages killed millions of people.
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Pneumonic plague can develop from bubonic plague and cause a severe lung infection that causes shortness of breath, headache, and cough.
China has largely eradicated the plague, but there are still occasional cases. Inner Mongolia reported four cases of bubonic plague in November 2019, according to Bloomberg, while Mongolia, a country that borders the Chinese Autonomous Region, reported two cases earlier this year.
“Infected rats are a key source of the disease, which is also transmitted to humans through infected flea bites,” Wang Peiyu, deputy head of Peking University’s School of Public Health, told Global Times. He said the disease is “unlikely to spread” in Yunnan.
More specifically, the Yersinia pestis organism causes disease.
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Symptoms of bubonic plague – the most common form of the disease, according to the Mayo Clinic, and not to be confused with septicemic and pulmonary plague – include swollen lymph nodes commonly in the armpit, neck, or groin, as well as fever, headache, fatigue and muscle aches.
Fox News’ Stephen Sorace and the Associated Press contributed to this report.