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China Bubonic Plague Case: Hong Kong Officials Offer a Little more Info

In a follow-up on the bubonic plague case reported from Northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection (CHP) reports:

The case involves a 45-year-old male patient living in Yinchuan. He worked on a farm in Ordos, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. He developed symptoms on July 12 and was confirmed to have bubonic plague on July 19. The patient is currently in stable condition.

A spokesman for the CHP said, “Plague is transmitted from an infected animal (mainly rodents) to humans through the bite of its fleas. Plague can also be contracted when cuts or other breaks in the skin come into contact with the body fluid or tissue of infected animals. Consumption of infected animal tissues and inhalation of infected respiratory droplets are also a possible mode of transmission.”

The spokesman explained that bubonic plague is a kind of plague which is not usually transmitted directly from person to person unless there is contact with pus from suppurating buboes. Patients infected with bubonic plague usually present with fever, headache and painful swelling of the regional lymph nodes, especially around the groin. The infection can progress to septicemic plague when the bacteria invade the blood stream.

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