A 15-year-old boy has died of bubonic plague in Mongolia, sparking a bit of concern over whether the Black Death will also cause fatalities over the border into China.
The teenager apparently contracted the plague after consuming marmot meat. His home was in the Mongolian province of Govi-Altai, which borders China’s Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia. There have also been two confirmed cases in Mongolia’s neighboring Khovd province.
Meanwhile, in China, the city of Bayannur, located in the northwestern part of Inner Mongolia confirmed a case of bubonic plague last week which is also believed to be tied to marmot meat.
The city has since gone on alert with authorities instructing residents to cease hunting and eating animals that could be carrying the plague. They also have been told to report any sick or dead animals that they find. The alert will remain up until the end of the year.
While the bubonic plague has certainly given humanity trouble in the past, nowadays it can easily be treated with antibiotics and so isn’t thought of as a real threat to our species.
However, if not treated quickly, the disease is still extremely fatal, killing 30 to 60 percent of those who are infected.