Teenager dies of the bubonic plague: What you should know

The plague has recently made a comeback with the World Health Organisation (WHO) categorizing it as a re-emerging disease.

The bubonic plague is caused by the bacteria, Yersinia Pestis, that is usually found in small mammals and their fleas - file pic | Astro Awani
A 15-year-old boy has died on Sunday from bubonic plague in western Mongolia after hunting and eating a marmot, a type of rodent typically linked to plague outbreaks.

Authorities have imposed quarantine measures in the Tugrug district of Gobi-Altai province since Sunday which will last until Saturday.

They have also isolated 15 people who came into contact with the teenager, all of whom were reportedly healthy.

Why should you care?

Recently, the Bubonic plague has resurfaced in China with authorities in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia confirming a case of the plague in the city of Bayannur early July. This came after two cases of the more infections pneumonic plague was detected in the region last November.

Back in the middle ages, the bubonic plague, known as the 'black death', wiped out more than half of Europe’s population.

However, these plagues have been around for centuries and cases have been periodically reported around the world.

The bubonic plague is caused by the bacteria, Yersinia Pestis, that is usually found in small mammals and their fleas.

After a one to seven-day exposure to the bacteria, individuals may suffer from symptoms such as headaches, vomiting as well as swollen and painful lymph nodes occurring in the area nearest to where the bacteria were first in contact with the skin.

The bubonic plague is the more common form of plague and is caused by the bite of an infected flea. Whereas the pneumonic plague or lung-based plague, the more fatal between the two, can easily be transmitted via droplets to other humans.

The plague has recently made a comeback with the World Health Organisation (WHO) categorizing it as a re-emerging disease.

According to WHO, there were 3,248 cases reported worldwide, including 584 deaths from 2010 to 2015. Cases were mainly in the three most endemic countries; the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, and Peru.
Plagues generally can be prevented with early detection and treatment.