Bubonic plague being 'well managed' in China, not high risk: WHO

Reuters Geneva Jul 07, 2020, 03.18 PM(IST)

Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus delivers a speech during the 70th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, May 23, 2017 Photograph:( Reuters )

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Local authorities in the city of Bayan Nur in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia issued a warning on Sunday

An apparent outbreak of bubonic plague in China is being "well managed" and is not considered to represent a high risk, a World Health Organization (WHO) official said on Tuesday.

Local authorities in the city of Bayan Nur in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia issued a warning on Sunday, one day after a hospital reported a case of suspected bubonic plague. It followed four reported cases of plague in people there last November, including two of pneumonic plague, a deadlier variant. 

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"We are monitoring the outbreaks in China, we are watching that closely and in partnership with the Chinese authorities and Mongolian authorities," WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris told a U.N. press briefing in Geneva.

"At the moment we are not...considering it high-risk but we are watching it, monitoring it carefully," she added.

The bubonic plague, known as the “Black Death” in the Middle Ages, is a highly infectious and often fatal disease that is spread mostly by rodents. Cases are not uncommon in China although they are becoming increasingly rare.