Pattaya Daily News

03 August 2009 :: 17:08:08 pm 27309

Pneumonic Plague Hits China

Thousands of people have been quarantined in north-west China, after a man died and eleven others are found to be infected with the pneumonic plague.
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Chinese authorities say the man who died was a 32-year-old herdsman from a sparsely populated area mostly inhabited by Tibetans. Eleven others are reported to be infected, with a second death, a 37 year old man, being identified by the Chinese state media as a neighbor of the first victim, from Ziketan, near Xinghai in Qingh ai Province. They did not specify when the deaths occurred. The other 11 victims are said to be relatives of the herdsman and are in a stable condition in hospital.

The inhabitants of Ziketan, which covers an area of over 1.000 sq miles on the Tibetan plateau, have been quarantined. A team of medical experts have been dispatched to monitor the desease.

Pneumonic plague is spread through the air and can be passed from person to person through coughing, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). It can be triggered by the same bacteria as the Bubonic plague which killed an estimated 25 million people in Europe during the middle ages.

Bubonic plague can now be treated with antibiotics, but pneumonic plague remains highly lethal and infectious. The WHO said humans can die within 24 hours of infection.

The Chinese health ministry announced last September that a married couple in western Tibet had died from pneumonic plague.

Pneumonic Plague is the most deadly, it is usually fatal and does not require flea bites to spread. When the bacilli reach the lungs, severe pneumonia accurs and the bacilli are present in the water droplets spread by coughs on peoples clothing. Thus it is highly contagious, especially in crowded and poorly ventilated buildings.

Death occurs quickly with the Pneumonic plague, within three or four days and even faster with the septicaemic type, 24 hours. In all three types of plague, bleeding causes large bruises to appear on the skin, hence the plague?s name during the 14th century, the Black Death.

It is widely believed that the Great Plague’s memory lives on in the nursery rhyme ‘Ring-a-ring o’ roses': the ‘roses’ refer to the red spots that appear over the buboes, and ‘A-tishoo! A-tishoo! We all fall down!’ recalls the violent coughing and swift death that accompanies pneumonic plague.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : PDN staff   Category : World News

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