Bubonic plague cases have seemingly made a resurgence amidst the calamitous backdrop of 2020, with several people now dead after contracting the ancient disease. The shutdown of Suji Xincun is the latest measure taken by authorities in the vicinity of Mongolia, which has seen the bulk of cases spread from contact with animals. The district of Damao Banner, in which the village resides, is on a level three alert for plague prevention in hopes to stem the potential tide of infections, caused by bites from bacteria-carrying fleas.
Is the bubonic plague back in 2020?
The bubonic plague is the most famous, and amongst the most deadly, diseases in the world.
Notable outbreaks before and during the Middle Ages killed millions of people worldwide, at the time a significant portion of the population.
As such, any signs the infection has made a resurgence will rouse fears around the globe, and it does have an established foothold.
READ MORE: Where did the Bubonic plague originate? Was it in China?
The bubonic plague spreads via fleas infected with the Yersinia Pestis bacteria, a known cause three types of the disease.
Most preventative measures against the disease have focussed on preventing close contact with animals which may carry it, as there is no cure.
But the disease is not making a resurgence. Rather, it never left circulation, instead sticking to areas where contact with animals and humans is commonplace.
These include areas in the US, China, Africa and South America.
The disease can survive in captivity due to this contact, but it can’t get out of control in the same way it once did.
Since the infamous pandemics of the mid-14th century and before, knowledge of hygiene has improved rapidly.
People no-longer come into regular contact with wild rodents – which spread the plague back then – and science has de-clawed the disease.
Although it still has a high fatality rate if left untreated, antibiotics effectively flush out the bacteria before it advances to a lethal state.
Roughly 2,000 cases of the bubonic plague emerge every year, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), with very few deaths.
The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in the US estimates seven people die in the country due to the plague.
Antibiotics have a high success rate, so most deaths from the disease come from a lack of access to the drug.
In the UK, local transmission is unheard of, and the risk remains “very low” someone returning to the country could spread it, according to the Government.