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A bubonic plague case has been reported in Northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, according to state media.

Image/Robert Herriman

The case prompted a level IV emergency response on plague prevention and control on Tuesday.

It is reported that the individual contracted the infection outside of the region, although it is not specified where.

Under the level IV warning (the lowest level), Ningxia will treat the patient with all its efforts and implement relevant epidemic measures to ensure there will not be further spread and transmission.

Plague is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium, Yersinia pestis. It is found in animals throughout the world, most commonly rats but other rodents like ground squirrels, prairie dogs, chipmunks, rabbits and marmots in China. Fleas typically serve as the vector for plague.

People can also get infected through direct contact with an infected animal, through inhalation and in the case of pneumonic plague, person to person.

Yersinia pestis is treatable with antibiotics if started early enough.

There are three forms of human plague; bubonic, septicemic and pneumonic.

In August 2021, Ningxia also reported a confirmed case of bubonic plague in its capital city Yinchuan. The case was traced back to Inner Mongolia.