China has sealed off parts of the northwestern city of Yumen amid a bubonic plague scare sparked by the death of a resident from the zoonotic disease.
A 38-year-old victim was infected by fleas carried by a marmot, a wild rodent, and died last Wednesday. It has led to several districts of the city of about 100,000 people in Gansu province — among the poorest in China and a major source of the nation's migrant labor — being put into special quarantine zones, state media reported this week.
It said 151 people who had come into direct contact with the victim were also placed in quarantine. None has so far shown any signs of infection, the Xinhua news agency added.
The city had set aside more than $160,000 for emergency vaccinations, the Jiuquan Daily, a local newspaper, said on Tuesday.
The plague, a bacterial disease spread by the fleas of wild rodents, caused millions of deaths throughout Europe in the 14th century.
While the disease can be effectively treated, patients can die 24 hours after the initial infection, the World Health Organization says.
Outbreaks in China have been rare in recent years, and most have happened in remote rural areas in the country’s western regions. China's state broadcaster said there were 12 diagnosed cases and three deaths in the province of Qinghai in 2009, and one in Sichuan in 2012.
Beijing's Center for Disease Prevention and Control sought to dispel concerns about a wider outbreak of the disease in China, saying on its website that the risk of the disease spreading to the capital was minimal.
Al Jazeera and Reuters