Chinese health officials confirmed Tuesday that a case of bubonic plague was diagnosed in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia, with the WHO telling reporters that it is "monitoring" the situation "carefully".
"We are monitoring the outbreaks in China, we are watching them closely and in partnership with the Chinese authorities and Mongolian authorities", World Health Organization spokeswoman Margaret Harris said at a United Nations press briefing in Geneva this week.
A case has been recorded in Inner Mongolia - a mountainous region of China.
China has gone weeks without reporting a new death from the coronavirus, and on Monday reported just one new case of local infection in the capital, Beijing.
Another part of the claim states: "Bubonic plague is airborne and can be spread when an infected person coughs, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control".
China has placed a level three alert on the region over fears an outbreak could become an epidemic.
The latest cases of the plague are thought to have been caused by the preparation or consumption of a marmot, a small rodent.
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Plague is highly contagious and transmitted between animals and humans through the bite of infected fleas and contact with infected animals like marmots. In the 14th century, it has been estimated that nearly 50 million people have been killed in Europe alone.
An outbreak of bubonic plague in Asia assumes high risks.
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The claims are misleading; the World Health Organization has said the bubonic plague case is not high-risk and is "being well managed"; the CDC states bubonic plague is usually caused by flea bites. In 2017, there were 300 cases in Madagascar, and less than 30 people died. After 1959, the number of cases dropped to 200 or less globally.
Once the bacteria enter the human body through a flea bite, it travels through the lymphatic vessels to the lymph node, causing them to swell.
In the adjacent country of Mongolia, farther north, two herders died previous year after eating marmot meat and contracting the disease.
"Unlike in the 14th century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted", Dr. Shanti Kappagoda, an infectious diseases doctor at Stanford Health Care, told news site Healthline, the BBC reported. "We are also able to treat patients who are infected with effective antibiotics, and can give antibiotics to people who may have been exposed to the bacteria (and) prevent them (from) getting sick".