Fifteen-year-old boy dies of the Black Death in Mongolia amid increasing fears of an outbreak
A boy aged 15 has died from bubonic plague in Mongolia as dozens of people who contacted him are in isolation over the deadly disease.
The fatality comes as Russia and China were warned that they are vulnerable to the spread of the Black Death. The unnamed teenager had a high fever after eating marmot meat with two friends. He died three days after eating the rodent meat, according to reports.
His contacts have all been reached to halt the risk of the disease spreading. The bubonic plague is a bacterial disease spread by fleas living on wild rodents like marmots. It kills in less than 24 hours if not treated promptly.
The boy died in the western Mongolian province of Govi-Altai, said the country’s National Centre for Zoonotic Diseases (NCZD). A lockdown has been imposed in five soums or districts to stop the spread.
wo cases of bubonic plague were recently confirmed in the neighbouring province of Khovd, a 27-year-old man and his brother, 17.
Hundreds were vaccinated after coming into direct or indirect contact with the brothers. A couple died of bubonic plague in the western Mongolian province of Bayan-Ulgii in April 2019, after eating raw marmot meat.
A confirmed case in China this month has not led to any spread, it is believed.
But the Mongolian health ministry admitted that the mountainous Altai regions of China and Russia as well as Mongolia are at risk of the plague due to infected marmots, based on a new study.
A TV broadcast acknowledged these were ‘highly active areas of marmot epidemics’. It was ‘very important not to hunt marmots’ or eat the meat, said senior official Dorj Narangerel.
He said: ‘The marmot plague is very toxic. We urge you to pay special attention to the fact that the pulmonary form of the disease is just as rapid as the coronavirus infection – but it is a disease that can kill people very quickly.’
Marmots are rodents and the heaviest member of the squirrel family. Up to 200million people were killed by the Black Death – bubonic plague – in the 14th century.