2019-11-16 17:28:031 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST
By Chanel Adams, Image: Wikimedia Commons
The Bubonic Plague has reemerged in China, having some people concerned. Is there a reason to panic about China’s Black Death plague outbreak? Experts are conflicted as to whether or not the general public should be concerned. Still, it’s the most dangerous strain that has been reported by Chinese authorities. Two patients have been diagnosed in Beijing with the most dangerous strain of the disease.
This medieval disease is known as the Black Death. This report has people concerned in China’s northeastern capital as authorities are desperately trying to quash the public’s fears of a possible epidemic. According to a report via NPR, Chinese authorities are trying to censor the latest reports of hospitalizations. On Tuesday, Nov. 12, Beijing authorities announced that a nearby hospital has taken in a married couple who lives in Inner Mongolia. One is in stable condition while the other is in critical condition, according to Beijing’s health commission.
However, the Chinese Center for Disease for Control and Prevention told the general public that the chances of an outbreak are “extremely low.” However, the city’s health commission has quarantined the hospitalized the infected patients. In addition, they have provided care for the couple exposed to the deadly disease and have since sterilized the infected medical facilities, according to the center. Authorities have also been closely guarding the quarantined emergency room of Chaoyang hospital, where the infected patients were admitted to.
Since then, experts have been conflicted as to whether China should be concerned about this latest plague. The Black Death plague is known as one of the deadliest pandemics in human history. But the chances of a similar pandemic are not likely to happen, according to a group of medical experts. These days, people have access to antibiotics and medications to treat infections and prevent fatalities if the disease is caught early enough on. However, there is no vaccine to protect people from the plague.
“The risks of a global plague pandemic such as the 14th century Black Death are close to nil,” Dr. James Shepherd, an associate professor of internal medicine at the Yale School of Medicine, told Forbes. “It is a zoonosis—an infection with a wild animal reservoir—transmitted by flea bites and so it doesn’t have the capacity to rapidly spread from person to person. … There are sporadic cases in the U.S. annually, often in hunters, so we see it occasionally.”
However, according to Foreign Policy, there is a reason to be concerned about China’s latest outbreak. It’s not the disease itself that people should be worried about. It’s the Chinese government’s response to it. They’re already making efforts in order to hide accurate information from the public. Rather than being concerned with the spread of the disease, the government wants to control the public response to it. These efforts have failed in the past – and have killed people – and the public’s response is not backed up by accurate information.
The last time the Bubonic Plague broke out in the U.S., government officials tried to hide it form the public. It’s up to the government to inform the public about a possible pandemic. And it’s also important to quash any fears through prevention. It’s also the government’s responsibility to provide the facts.
The Bubonic Plague first happened in the Middle Ages when it killed 50 million people. The plague is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis and can occur in three strains. Symptoms of the Bubonic Plague include large, swollen lymph nodes that appear throughout the body. If left untreated, it can lead to septicemic plague, which enters the bloodstream, and pneumonic plague, which enters the lungs. The plague is often transmitted via animals, including rabbits, rats, squirrels, and prairie dogs. However, domesticated pets like cats and dogs can also carry the disease.
Even though the Bubonic Plague is related to the historical pandemic, the disease still exists to this day. Over 3,248 reported cases have occurred globally from 2010 to 2015, according to the World Health Organization. The WHO has since classified the Bubonic Plague as a reemerging disease. In addition, there have been over 50,000 reported human cases of the plague in the past 20 years, according to CNN. The Bubonic Plague epidemic is most common in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, and Peru, where a reported outbreak in 2017 lead to 2,348 cases and 202 deaths.
This is not the first time that the Bubonic Plague has been reported this year. Back in 2019, a Mongolian couple died from the disease after consuming a raw marmot kidney. Over the summer, prairie dogs that carried the disease lead to a shutdown in certain parts of Denver, Colorado.
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