If you had Resurgence of Bubonic Plague on your 2020 bingo card you win! The Western Mongolia Health Ministry announced this week that a 15-year-old boy has died of bubonic plague after eating an infected marmot.
Ministry spokesperson Narangerel Dorj said two other teenagers also ate the marmot and were being treated with antibiotics. In total 15 people who had contact with the deceased boy were isolated and are also receiving antibiotics.
The Western Mongolia government imposed a quarantine on a portion of Gobi-Altai province, where the incident occurred.
But they are not alone.
More Bubonic Plague Cases Confirmed
Local health authorities in China’s northern region of Inner Mongolia announced they also uncovered a positive case of bubonic plague after a farmer was hospitalized.
And just this weekend here in the USA officials confirmed that a squirrel in Jefferson County, Colorado, has tested positive for it.
So What Is Going On?
For some background, the bubonic plague was first introduced into the United States in 1900. Since then 1,013 cases of confirmed or probable human plague cases were identified.
In total, an average of seven human plague cases are reported in the U.S. each year. Between 1,000 and 2,000 cases are reported worldwide to the World Health Organization annually.
Due to the effectiveness of antibiotics, the overall mortality rate among those infected with plague in the U.S. has decreased to approximately 11%.
It’s too early to tell if these new cases mean something more dramatic is happening or not.