Health authorities in China’s Inner Mongolia have confirmed that a third instance of the plague has been reported, after two people contracted it in Beijing earlier this month. The health commission said in a statement that a 55-year old man had contracted bubonic plague after eating a wild rabbit during a hunting trip. The man was subsequently quarantined after the diagnosis, along with 28 people who he came into contact with.
However, the other 28 people have showed no signs or symptoms of the plague.
The other two contractors caught pneumonic plague, with the difference being bubonic effects the lymph nodes whereas pneumonic effects the lungs.
Fan Mengguang, deputy director of Inner Mongolia’s disease prevention and control centre, told the media that the latest case is “isolated and unrelated” to the cases in Beijing.
However, with three confirmed diagnoses, the public is beginning to panic over a potential outbreak.
According to AFP, one user on Weibo, which is essentially China’s version of Twitter, posted: “I just want to know how these two came to Beijing?? By train, airplane, or did they drive themselves?”
Another reportedly said: ”Bird flu in the year of the rooster… swine fever in the year of the pig. Next year is the year of the rat…the plague is coming.”
The pneumonic plague is just one of three diseases caused by the Yersinia pestis bacterium.
Pneumonic plague is known for its effects on the respiratory system, as it causes dangerous lung infections.
READ MORE: China plague outbreak confirmed: Two diagnosed with disease in Beijing
According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in the US, the plague is treatable with antibiotics.
The CDC advises the earlier people seek treatment, the more likely it is they will make a full recovery.
Those who come into close contact with plague victims may need preventative antibiotic therapy.
In the 21st century, the plague is endemic to select regions of the planet.
Three countries where the plague still circulates are the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Madagascar, and Peru.
Isolated cases often also spring up in the US, with up to a dozen people diagnosed annually.