The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a warning after three cases of the plague have been confirmed in China this year.
The CDC issued the warning on Saturday afternoon, saying that according to data published by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing confirmed that a married couple living in Inner Mongolia had contracted the plague.
The husband began to experience fever and had difficulty breathing beginning in late October. His wife subsequently developed similar symptoms.
Photo: Lin Hui-chin, Taipei Times
Both sought treatment at a local healthcare facility and were transferred to Beijing Chao-Yang Hospital on Nov. 3, with one of them in critical condition.
The Beijing government said it has implemented quarantine measures and identified people who had direct contact with the patients.
It urged people to avoid visiting areas where plague is spreading and to avoid rodents.
CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said the plague is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium that could be transmitted from fleas to rodents and then to other animals and humans.
Early symptoms might include abnormal lymph nodes at the area where the bacteria entered, which might develop into the septicemic form of the plague, a life-threatening infection of the blood, he said.
Pneumonic plague, the most severe form of the disease, is airborne and can be spread through coughing and sneezing, the CDC said.
A total of three cases, including one death, have been confirmed in China this year, it said.
Lo said the plague is a serious disease, with a fatality rate of 30 to 60 percent if left untreated, but there have been no cases reported in Taiwan since 1953.
The CDC would continue to monitor the situation in China and would consider issuing a travel warning if the situation worsens, he said.
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