(CNN) – Authorities in the Inner Mongolia region of China closed many tourist sites after confirming a case of bubonic plague this week.
According to the Xinhua report, the Inner Mongolia authorities are also implementing stricter management of other grassland tourist sites to ensure that visitors do not feed or touch wild animals, and to reduce the number of rodents or fleas that may carry diseases.
Bayannur hospital authorities first informed the city officials of the suspected case on Saturday. The city was put under a Level 3 warning to prevent the plague, the second lowest level in a four-tier system, on Sunday.
The plague, caused by bacteria and transmitted by bites of fleas and infected animals, is known to cause the most deadly pandemic in human history – the Black Death, in which an estimated 50 million people were killed in Europe in the Middle Ages.
Bubonic plague, one of the three forms of plague, causes enlarged painful lymph nodes, as well as fever, chills and coughing.
Scientists and experts have warned the public not to panic in new cases – the plague has never disappeared, and modern antibiotics can prevent complications and death if given quickly enough.
Bayannur’s health authorities have warned the public not to report the results of dead or sick divers, and not to hunt, skin or eat them.
Marmot is a type of wild big squirrel that is eaten in some parts of China and the neighboring country Mongolia, which historically caused an outbreak of plague in the region.
Consumption of briquette meat or its members has been linked to an outbreak of other bubonic plague across the Chinese border in neighboring Mongolia – two cases were confirmed last week, and a suspected case was reported on Monday.
The Russian embassy in Mongolia said, “There are no causes for serious concern” as the Mongolian authorities imposed travel restrictions and isolated the injured, according to Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
The embassy also quoted Sergei Dordetsu, WHO representative in Mongolia, who is reported to be experiencing a seasonal outbreak of plague, according to RIA Novosti.
“There are natural foci (bacteria, animal tank and carrier) for plague in Mongolia, and the disease is spread by a tarragon (Mongolian mark),” the embassy said.
“The problem is that the locals who, despite all the prohibitions and recommendations of the local authorities, continue to chase and eat them, because this is a local delicacy.”