A Mongolian couple died of bubonic plague in the westernmost province of Bayan-Ulgii, after eating raw marmot kidney which triggered a quarantine. According to the reports in BBC, the couple had consumed the raw meat and kidney of a marmot which is considered as a folk remedy for good health.
The 6th century pandemic that resulted in an estimated 25 million-50 million deaths is rare now. But it is still considered as one of the most deadly threats humans had to face.
Bubonic plague is caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis and can spread through contact with infected fleas. Symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, which can be as large as chicken eggs, in the groin, armpit or neck. They may be tender and warm. Others include fever, chills, headache, fatigue and muscle aches.
According to BBC, the disease – typically transmitted from animals to humans by fleas – has a 30%-60% fatality rate if left untreated. Reports say that it is tough to identify at the beginning stages because the symptoms are very flu-like.
According to the reports in Fox News, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says modern antibiotics are effective in treating plague, but without immediate care, the infection can cause serious illness or even death.
As the news about the plague broke on May 1, reportedly more than 100 people including foreign tourists from Switzerland, Sweden, Kazakhstan and South Korea, who had come into contact with the couple, were isolated and treated with antibiotics.