Authorities in Inner Mongolia in China are on high alert after a suspected case of bubonic plague, the disease that caused Black Death pandemic, was reported Sunday. The case was discovered in the city of Bayannur. A hospital alerted municipal authorities of the patient’s case and local authorities had issued a citywide Level 3 warning for plague prevention.
Plague, caused by bacteria and transmitted through flea bites and infected animals, is one of the deadliest bacterial infections in human history. During the Black Death in the Middle Ages, it killed an estimated 50 million people in Europe.
Bubonic plague, which is one of plague’s three forms, causes painful, swollen lymph nodes, as well as fever, chills, and coughing. Marmots — a type of large ground squirrel that is eaten in some parts of China and the neighboring country Mongolia have historically caused plague outbreaks in the region.