Two cases of bubonic plague linked to eating raw marmot meat as China put on alert

China has sounded an alert after a case of the plague was reported on Saturday by a hospital in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of Bayannur – with warnings in place until the end of this year

    (Image: National Center for Zoonotic Diseases)

    Two cases of the bubonic plague have been linked to eating raw marmot meat as China was put on alert.

    On Saturday, China sounded an alert after a case of the plague was reported on Saturday by a hospital in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of Bayannur.

    Two people died from the plague in the region last year after contracting the disease from eating the raw meat of a marmot – a type of rodent.

    A World Health Organization official in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, said consuming raw marmot meat and kidney is a folk remedy for good health.

    Marmots are a known carrier of the plague bacteria.

    Eating marmots is thought to be a folk remedy that brings good health
    (Image: Eagle News)

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    According to the World Health Organization, the Bubonic plague – a bacterial disease that is spread by fleas living on wild rodents – can kill an adult in under 24 hours.

    The latest local health warning in the region of Bayannur will continue until the end of 2020.

    "At present, there is a risk of a human plague epidemic spreading in this city," a statement from the local health authority read.

    "The public should improve its self-protection awareness and ability, and report abnormal health conditions promptly."

    The flesh and organs of the marmot are part of traditional folk medicine
    (Image: De Agostini/Getty Images)

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    A couple died of bubonic plague in the western Mongolian province of Bayan-Ulgii after eating raw meat last year.

    The news of Bubonic plague comes quickly after concerned Chinese researchers issued a warning over another potential pandemic caused by an influenza virus in pigs.

    Experts say it has "all the hallmarks" of being highly adapted to infect humans and needs close monitoring.

    The virus – which the researchers have named G4 EA H1N1 – can grow and multiply in human cells.

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    Current flu vaccines do not appear to protect against it, according to top medics.

    Prof Kin-Chow Chang, who works at Nottingham University, told the BBC: "Right now we are distracted with  coronavirus  and rightly so.

    "But we must not lose sight of potentially dangerous new viruses."

    While this new virus is not an immediate problem he says "we should not ignore it".


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