By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

In a follow-up on our recent reports on plague cases in China (HERE and HERE), the Taiwan Department of Disease Control reported on a fourth human plague case. The patient from  Jiuquan City, Gansu Province was diagnosed with septicemic plague in September.


This follows reports of two pneumonic plague cases reported from Inner Mongolia in northern China that were diagnosed this month in a Beijing hospital and a bubonic plague case reported in a Inner Mongolia man who contracted the bacterial infection via exposure to wild rabbit last week.

This has prompted Taiwan officials to ramp up screening and health assessments of inbound fever passengers at international ports. Health officials note that Taiwan has not seen a plague case in nearly 7 decades. Mainland China reports plague naturally in certain areas of the country.

Related: Congo, Madagascar top countries reporting most plague 2000-2009, US reports 57 cases

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.