Mon, Aug 03, 2009 - Page 5 News List

Town in China sealed off after plague kills one

AFP AND DPA , BEIJING

A town in a Tibetan area in northwest China has been sealed off after one of its residents died from pneumonic plague, the local government said yesterday.

Ziketan town in Qinghai Province was put under collective quarantine on Saturday when laboratory tests showed it had been struck by the highly virulent disease, the Qinghai health bureau said in a statement.

A 32-year-old herdsman had died from the plague, while 11 others had been diagnosed with it, the statement said.

Ziketan, which is located in the Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, had enough supplies to get by on its own for the time being, it added, giving no indication of when the quarantine would be lifted.

The health bureau urged people who had visited Ziketan on or after July 16 to seek immediate help if they developed coughing or fever.

An official at the Ziketan health bureau contacted yesterday declined to give further details.

Pneumonic plague spreads through the air, making it easier to contract than for example bubonic plague, which requires that a person is bitten by an infected flea.

It is also more lethal, with a fatality rate of up to 100 percent if left untreated, compared with 60 percent for bubonic plague.

The town, which is now under quarantine, has about 10,000 residents, authorities said.

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