An possible outbreak of bubonic plague in China is being “goodly handled” and is not considered to pose a high risk, a WHO official said Tuesday. Local authorities in the town of Bayan Nur in the Inner Mongolia region of China issued a alert on Sunday, one day after a hospital confirmed a suspected bubonic plague outbreak. Last November it followed four confirmed cases of plague in people there, including two of pneumonic plague, a more lethal variant.
“We are tracking the outbreaks in China, we are tracking them closely and in cooperation with the Chinese authorities and the authorities in Mongolia,” WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris told a U.N. In Geneva Press briefing.
“We ‘re not considering it high-risk at the moment, but we’re watching it, carefully monitoring it,” she added. The bubonic plague, known in the Middle Ages as the “Black Death,” is a highly contagious, and sometimes deadly, disease often transmitted by rodents. Although cases are becoming increasingly rare in China, they are not uncommon.