Bubonic plague sparked alarm today after authorities in China announced they believed they had identified a case in Inner-Mongolia. The single case, reported at a hospital in the city of Bayannur, was identified on Saturday and triggered a level three alert on Sunday, the second-lowest of China’s four-tier system. Authorities have urged people to report any dead or sick marmots or people with an unexplained fever.
Could bubonic plague become a pandemic?
Bubonic plague is best known for its devastating tour across three continents in the 14th century, and terrifying resurgence in 17th century London.
During the latter outbreak in 1665, one year before the great fire of London, the plague killed roughly one-fifth of the city’s inhabitants.
Although the bacteria was once a critical threat for much of the world, modern medicine has effectively dampened its impact.
READ MORE: Mongolia quarantines region near Chinese border after PLAGUE outbreak
People often associate bubonic plague outbreaks with distant frontiers or small settlements, but the disease remains a metropolitan threat as well.
US authorities sometimes detect cases, and there are regularly offending regions according to the CDC.
They have previously identified bubonic plague infections in northern New Mexico, northern Arizona, and southern Colorado, California, southern Oregon, and far western Nevada.
Although states sometimes report infections, they remain rare, and other cases emerge in Africa, Asia, and South America.