UK & World News

  • 23 July 2014, 13:12

Chinese City Sealed Off Over Plague Death

A city in China has been sealed off after a man died of bubonic plague.

None of the tens of thousands of people who live in Yumen, in northwestern Gansu province, are allowed to leave.

More than 150 people are in quarantine, with police manning perimeter roadblocks and directing drivers away from the town, according to state broadcaster China Central Television.

The man who died reportedly found a dead marmot - a small, squirrel-like animal which lives on grasslands - and chopped it up to feed to his dog.

The 38-year-old developed a fever on the same day and was taken to hospital where he subsequently died.

No further cases have been reported and it is not known if the man's dog died.

According to CCTV, Yumen has enough rice, flour and oil to supply all its residents for up to one month.

Local residents and those in quarantine are all in a stable condition, it said.

Bubonic plague is a bacterial infection best known for the "Black Death", a virulent epidemic of the disease that killed tens of millions of people in Europe in the 14th century.

A more recent pandemic swept across China and moved on to Hong Kong in the 1800s.

It was spread by rats arriving in port cities and killed around 10 million people, according to the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC).

Bubonic plague is rare in humans and is usually successfully treated with antibiotics.