Plague outbreak takes third life in China

An outbreak of pneumonic plague in northwest China has claimed a third victim, local health authorities reported, as they continued to cordon off a town.

Last Updated: Aug 04, 2009, 10:02 AM IST

Beijing: An outbreak of pneumonic plague in northwest China has claimed a third victim, local health authorities reported, as they continued to cordon off a town.
The man was identified as Danzhi, 64, from Ziketan town, in the Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, according to a statement on the website of the Qinghai Health Bureau.

The town, with a population of 10,000, has been quarantined since the outbreak began on Thursday. A 32-year-old herder and his neighbour died earlier from the disease.

Nine other people have been isolated after showing signs of infection, with one in a serious condition and another with symptoms such as coughing and chest pain, the health bureau said.

Pneumonic plague is a highly infectious, air-born form of the disease and is spread human-to-human through coughing. If left untreated, it can kill within 24 hours of infection, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

In most cases, the pneumonic form is due to a secondary spread from an advanced infection of the bubonic plague, which is spread through flea bites.

"Provincial, prefecture and county-level health professionals are continuing to carry out disinfection and pest and rodent control, in order to eliminate fleas," the Qinghai health bureau said in the statement.

Bureau Report