Plague risk in Beijing low, experts say

Plague risk in Beijing low, experts say

Two people with the disease receiving proper treatment in a capital hospital

The Chaoyang district government in Beijing recently reported two confirmed cases of plague, but the risk of the disease spreading further in the capital is extremely low and there is no need for panic, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday.

Health authorities and hospitals in Beijing have taken timely quarantine measures, traced the people at risk of being exposed to the disease and applied preventive medicine to people who came into contact with the two affected people, the center said.

They have also conducted thorough sterilization where the two patients stayed and intensified monitoring of patients who displayed fever in hospitals and clinics, it said.

"Residents can live and go to work and medical institutions as normal, and there is no need to worry about the risk of infection," it said.

The two cases, from Xiliin Gol League in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, were confirmed to be pneumonic plague.

Both patients have received proper treatment in Chaoyang, according to a statement released by the district health commission on Tuesday night.

A doctor from Beijing Chaoyang Hospital, who declined to be named, said the two received treatment in the hospital, and thorough disease prevention and control measures have been applied.

The National Health Commission has dispatched senior medical experts to Inner Mongolia to guide local authorities to trace the origin of the disease and its transmission route and conduct medical observation.

Plague is a Grade 1 infectious disease in China, which means it is under the strictest management. The only other infectious disease that falls into the category is cholera.

The fatality rate of pneumonic plague, a serious form of plague, is almost 100 percent if not treated in a timely manner.

Plague used to cause many deaths in China, but the disease has been rare in the country over the past few decades.

No plague cases were reported in China last year, and only one case, which resulted in death, was reported in 2017, according to the National Health Commission.

Plague is caused by bacteria transmitted to humans by rodents such as mice and marmots.

The China CDC advises the public to practice good hygiene, such as frequently washing hands, wearing masks in crowded places such as hospitals and avoiding contact with wild animals or eating them.

The disease can be effectively treated with many kinds of antibiotics in the early stages, it said.

Li Dongzeng, a doctor specializing in infectious disease at Beijing Youan Hospital, said plague causes symptoms such as fever and swollen lymph nodes and transmits quickly.

People who have had close contact with plague should take preventive medicine as soon as possible.

Although the disease results in high fatality, plague is not likely to cause mass outbreaks in an organized modern society, he said.

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