Sunday, September 20, 2020

WHO praises China for handling of bubonic plague, says it’s ‘carefully monitoring’ situation

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The World Health Organization praised Beijing on Tuesday for its handling of a cluster of cases of bubonic plague, one of the deadliest diseases in human history.

The apparent outbreak of the disease is being “well managed” by China and is not considered high risk, a WHO official said.

Local authorities in Bayan Nur, located in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia, sent out a warning about the plague on Sunday, a day after a hospital reported a case of the plague known grimly as the “Black Death” during the Middle Ages.

CHINA REPORTS SUSPECTED CASE OF BUBONIC PLAGUE IN INNER MONGOLIA 

Four other cases were reported in November, including two of pneumonic plague, a deadlier variant.

“We are monitoring the outbreaks in China, we are watching that closely and in partnership with the Chinese authorities and Mongolian authorities,” WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said during a United Nations press briefing in Geneva.

The bubonic plague can be fatal in up to 90 percent of people infected if not treated, primarily with several types of antibiotics.


Pneumonic plague can develop from bubonic plague and results in a severe lung infection causing shortness of breath, headache, and coughing.

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China has largely eradicated plague, but occasional cases are still reported, especially among hunters coming into contact with fleas carrying the bacterium. The last major known outbreak was in 2009 when several people died in the town of Ziketan in Qinghai province on the Tibetan Plateau.

The WHO has been under international scrutiny for its seemingly blind adoration of China and its handling of COVID-19, which has infected more than 11.6 million people worldwide and killed more than half a million.

The WHO repeatedly thanked the Chinese government during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic and heaped praise on President Xi Jinping and the Communist Party for its transparency. In March, the WHO finally declared a coronavirus pandemic after the virus spread to other countries.

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China, which has gone weeks without reporting a new death from the coronavirus, reported on Monday one new case of local infection in Beijing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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