Back in the 14th century, the bubonic plague — also known as “Black Death” — killed 50 million people in Africa, Asia, and Europe. It also killed a fifth of London’s population during the Great Plague of 1665, and over 12 million more died from it in China and India during the 19th century.
Unfortunately, it has returned.
Per the New York Post, two cases of the bubonic plague have been discovered in China. They state, “A herdsman in the city of Bayannur — about 560 miles northwest of Beijing — is in stable condition under quarantine, while a second suspected case involving a 15-year-old is being investigated.”
They add that it is unclear how or why the herdsman might have become infected, but they think the teen was in contact with a marmot hunted by a dog. Because of this finding, authorities have imposed a Level 3 alert until the end of the year. They also forbid the hunting and eating of animals that could carry the disease.
The bubonic plague is caused by a bacterial infection, and symptoms include high fever, chills, nausea, weakness, and swollen lymph nodes. Luckily, it can now easily be treated with antibiotics.
Although the resurfacing of the disease is alarming, it most likely won’t lead to an epidemic. As Dr. Shanti Kappagoda, an infectious diseases doctor at Stanford Health Care, explains, “Unlike in the 14th century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted.”