Pneumonic Plague Outbreak

In Ziketan, a village in Northwest China, pneumonic plague has threatened inhabitants since the end of July 2009. It is an extremely rare, deadly plague caused by the Yersinia pestis. This bacterium has placed the 10,000 people living in Qinghai province under quarantine, with authorities reporting that three people died and nine other individuals were infected. Transmission may occur by handling infected animals, inhaling infected droplets, and through flea bites. Individuals who have traveled to Ziketan since July 16, 2009, that develop fever or coughing are urged to contact their local disease control centers.

Fast Facts:

  • Recently, nine people from Yichun City in Heilongjiang Province were hospitalized. Hospital officials are stating this is not a case of pneumonic plague, but sources confirmed the diagnosis.
  • Pneumonic plague is more virulent than the bubonic plaque.
  • WHO has reported six plague outbreaks between 1998 and 2008; approximately 24,000 cases were reported with 2,000 deaths.
  • This type of plague is more predominate in Africa, Asia, America, and Eastern Europe. Approximately 98 percent of cases occur in Africa.