With Colorado suffering from pneumonic plague, and the dreadfully sad report of Sierra Leone's chief Ebola doctor contracting the virus, it appears China is taking no chances. As Yahoo reports, Chinese officials have blocked off parts of Yumen, a city in northwest China, preventing about 30,000 of the city's people from leaving after one resident died from bubonic plague. About 150 people who had contact with the plague victim have been placed under quarantine but US experts are perplexed at the response, "there's something here that we don't know, because this seems a very expansive response to just one case."
A city in China has reportedly been sealed off after one resident died from bubonic plague, but this way of trying to contain the disease is puzzling to infectious disease experts, who say the response seems extreme given the information released about the case.
According to news reports, Chinese officials have blocked off parts of Yumen, a city in northwest China, preventing about 30,000 of the city's people from leaving.
A man in the city became ill after he handled a dead marmot (a large wild rodent), and died last week from bubonic plague. No other cases of the plague have been reported, according to the Guardian. About 150 people who had contact with the plague victim have been placed under quarantine.
But US experts are wondering if there is more going on...
Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, said that sealing off a city is a rather extreme set of precautions to take for a single case of bubonic plague. "I feel there's something here that we don't know, because this seems a very expansive response to just one case," Schaffner said.
"We have cases of bubonic plague from time to time in the United States, and they don't require this kind of public health response," Schaffner said. In recent decades, there have been an average of seven cases of bubonic plague a year in the United States, the CDC says.
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Schaffner wondered whether Chinese public health authorities had more information that they have not released, such as reason to suspect more cases. "I'm very puzzled at the circumstances here, and what the actual hazard is."