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Plague outbreak takes third life in China

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 4, 2009 - 10:02

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

First Published: Tuesday, August 4, 2009 - 10:02

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