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Global Times

N. China's Inner Mongolia reports second plague death in one week, plans to set up Level-III emergency response system

Global Times

By Wan Lin Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/8 17:00:16

North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region reported one new plague death on Saturday, the second one found in the region within one week. The regional government has announced a plan to build a Level-III emergency prevention system for the plague covering the whole region.

Experts eased public concern by noting that the plague is unlikely to spread to a large scale under the region's mature and well-experienced prevention system, but also cautioned local residents to be vigilant as the possibility of infection still remains.

The victim of the newly reported case from Urad Front Banner, Bayannur city died of multiple organ failure on Friday and was diagnosed as infected with the glandular plague.

Seven close contacts of the victim have been put into quarantine and all tested negative in PCR nucleic tests.

Urad Front Banner announced on Friday it was entering a Level-Ⅲ early warning phase for plague prevention, following the announcement from Damao Banner in Baotou, where a person was reported on Thursday to have died after being infected with intestinal plague.

The warning phase at the two banners will persist until the end of 2020.

The government of the region also plans to build a Level-III prevention system for the plague, according to a guideline issued on Friday, which requires all disease control centers in counties, cities and districts with potential plague sources to set up an institution specializing in prevention and treatment work of the disease.

Public health experts believed the rapid response that the Inner Mongolia government took to the recently reported cases of the plague and the years of experience that the region has in tackling it will to a great degree reduce the possibility of its further spread.

"The plague has been around for a long time and Inner Mongolia's response system for the disease, including field monitoring and rat extermination systems, will be developed enough to bring it under control," Wang Peiyu, a deputy head of Peking University's School of Public Health, told the Global Times on Saturday.

Authorities in the region have also quarantined the places where the victims had stayed, rolling out thorough disinfection in the concerned areas and conducting epidemiological investigations and health observations for quarantined residents.

Wang pointed out that the two reported fatalities, one from intestinal plague, another from glandular plague, are less serious and troublesome than the pneumonic plague which can be transmitted from person to person through the air.

However, the public health expert also advised residents to be alert and take precautions for the plague as there is a possibility for people to become infected and the fatality rate of the disease can be as high as 20 to 30 percent despite antibiotic treatment.

The plague is a Class A infectious disease, the highest classification under China's Law on the Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases.

Plague-infected rodents are a key source of the disease, which is mainly transmitted to humans through bites from infected fleas.

The disease is not rare in China, lurking mostly in provinces and regions such as Inner Mongolia, Southwest China's Yunnan Province and Northwest China's Qinghai Province, where cases have popped up from time to time over the years, according to Wang.

In November 2019, two people traveling from the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to Beijing were diagnosed with the pneumonic plague.

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