Suspected case of bubonic plague reported in western Mongolia

Publish: 8:33 PM, August 16, 2020 | Update: 8:33:PM, August 16, 2020

ULAN BATOR, – A suspected case of the bubonic plague has been reported in Khovd province in western Mongolia, the country’s health ministry said Sunday.

A 37-year-old resident of Tsetseg soum in the province is now under isolation at a local hospital, the ministry said in a statement.

The man was found to have eaten marmot meat, and is now in critical condition, the ministry said, warning citizens not to hunt marmots or eat marmot meat. Meanwhile, at least 22 people who had contacted the man have been quarantined, according to the ministry.

Although hunting marmots is illegal in Mongolia, many Mongolians regard the rodent as a delicacy and ignore the law.

Since the beginning of this year, 13 suspected cases of the bubonic plague have been reported across the Asian country, four of which were confirmed by laboratory tests.

A 42-year-old man died of the bubonic plague in the same province on Tuesday, while a 15-year-old boy died of the plague in Govi-Altai province in western Mongolia in mid-July.

The country’s National Center for Zoonotic Diseases said that 17 out of all the 21 Mongolian provinces are now at risk of the bubonic plague.

The bubonic plague is a bacterial disease that can be spread by fleas living on wild rodents such as marmots and can kill an adult in less than 24 hours if not treated in time, according to the World Health Organization.