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Second Man Dies Of Plague In China

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China Plague Outbreak Unlikely to Cause Mass Deaths, WHO Says

By Simeon Bennett

Aug. 3 (Bloomberg) -- An outbreak of pneumonic plague in China that killed two men is unlikely to cause the mass fatalities associated with historical outbreaks, according to the World Health Organization.

While the disease can kill 60 percent of its victims if left unchecked, early diagnosis and treatment with generic antibiotics such as streptomycin and tetracycline cuts plague patients’ mortality rate to less than 15 percent, the WHO said on its Web site.

Authorities in northwestern China quarantined the town of Ziketan in Qinghai province after two men died from pneumonic plague, the official Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday. Pneumonic plague is the most serious and least common of three forms of the infectious disease. Plague is caused by the Yersinia pestis bacteria, found mainly in rodents, particularly rats, and in the fleas that feed on them.

“These things do happen sporadically in different countries,†Vivian Tan, a spokeswoman for the WHO in China, said in a telephone interview today. “It’s not something we’re very worried about, but we are keeping an eye on it.â€

Pneumonic plague occurs when the bacteria infect the lungs, causing symptoms including fever, headache and weakness, and may lead to potentially fatal cases of pneumonia, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In almost all cases, only the pneumonic form of plague can be passed from person to person.

In 2003, plague sickened 2,118 people in nine countries, killing 182 of them, according to the Geneva-based WHO. Almost 99 percent of the cases and deaths were in Africa.

Historical Deaths

Bubonic plague, which historians and scientists think was responsible for the so-called Black Death which killed 25 million people in Europe during the 1340s, occurs when the bacteria infect a patient’s lymph nodes following a bite from an infected flea, causing painful swelling.

The Black Death was the second of three major plague pandemics in history, according to the WHO. The first, known as Justinian’s plague, started in the 6th century and may have killed about 50 million people in Asia, Africa and Europe. The third began in China in the 19th century before spreading worldwide, the agency said.

The last urban outbreak of plague in the U.S. occurred in Los Angeles during 1924 and 1925, according to the Atlanta-based CDC. Since then, there have been about 10 to 15 cases a year in the U.S., mostly in rural areas, the CDC said on its Web site.


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Xinghai County, Qinghai Province found 12 confirmed cases of pneumonic plague


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Sent to those who:Hong-jie In Beijing 08/03/2009 (14 reads) [Accumulated 55,900 hours to the Hong-jieMade whispering]

Subject: Xinghai County, Qinghai Province found 12 confirmed cases of pneumonic plague

[Human Rights Forum] Xinghai County, Qinghai Province found 12 confirmed cases of pneumonic plague


Xinghai County, Qinghai Province of China by the end of July found that rat pulmonary disease. Official announced that there were 12 confirmed cases, 1 death. Experts Call for the area not because the epidemic is relatively remote and lightly. Radio Free Asia reporter coverage Yang Dai

Qinghai Department of Health August 1, said the evening news, Xinghai County, Qinghai Province Town Sub-Division 12 suspected cases by clinical examination, laboratory testing for after confirmed cases of pneumonic plague. The first of which had died, and the remaining 11 were being treated in isolation in stable condition.

Scientists Association, honorary president of the United States Dr. Xie Jiaye said that China has never taken place half a century epidemic of rat lung:

"This pneumonic plague which is basically a very long time it has become extinct, and not the disease. In China, it is, my impression of them should be the last century to the 60's after it has been nearly 50 years of time have heard of this the occurrence of disease. now suddenly in a remote place where the disease is really should be on the alert. because It just goes to show how long-standing illness but not how they come out? risen again. and then after the resurrection, It is often the bacteria will change it. changed since it may be more dangerous than before, because the air-borne, all the scientists fear most is the air-borne. "

Dr. Xie said that there is an outbreak of the local population is relatively scarce, so long as the real importance, it is expected to curb the spread of the epidemic, but the focus, whether or not bacteria such variation is necessary to seriously investigation, should not be taken lightly:

"It should be said that pneumonic plague is spread by fleas. From air-borne only at close range, such as saliva and other things are possible. You just say this place is in Qinghai, in remote places like this, it is necessary to cause large-scale epidemic, because of its relatively small population of them, compare them to evacuate, it is not possible mass in the air which made it very far, so if the case is isolated, then a high degree of importance, can be controlled immediately. However, we can not say that this is only an isolated incident, only a dozen or so individuals can be ignored. go to over there in the end to check on why a person is brought from abroad, or what brought about by or isolated? and then to the bacteria, there are the dead, then come up with the bacteria after the autopsy to study the variation of the disease in the end did not. "

Maryland, USA Dr.颜明远doctor said that is conducive to the prevention of ecological protection of public health events of public health and epidemic prevention education is necessary:

"It should be said that the local areas for the general population's awareness of environmental protection is still very inadequate, so I think you asked a very good, my advice is to look at from a long-term approach, in other words, to teach people the most basic common sense. "

Dr. Xie Jiaye said that the Chinese government to prevent, respond to public health measures have been introduced, but there were still many problems:

"The Chinese government does, it is now gradually began to recognize this, and then it is now a number of measures are being taken, but I personally think that this effort is not enough. We can not just put forward the growth of gross domestic product, Do not just look on this above. Another point is that I have been mentioning with them, including the most recent I have raised this point, why such a large-scale epidemic of the plague did not occur in developed countries, and most of them occur in developing countries? The United States of course It has, but it is coming from other countries with, not of their own countries. This shows that there are several aspects of the work did not do a good job, one that you have just said that the ecological context, a large population density , health and epidemic prevention work has not done particularly well, and I gave them a raise is the biggest problem of drug abuse, the drug is a lot of abuse of antibiotics, and not subject to strict quality control of drug abuse, this kind of thing will lead to bacterial virus. China's pharmaceutical Yes, how can there be in China this situation? thousands of pharmaceutical factories, scattered in various parts of an over-abundance of small pharmaceutical companies, of course, to stimulate the local economy brought about by a certain amount of benefits to the Who checks the quality of Na? "

Cases of pneumonic plague clinical manifestations including cough, fever, chest tightness, and so on.

This is Radio Free Asia reporter Yang Dai coverage.


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Plague kills 3rd man in sealed-off Chinese town

By HENRY SANDERSON (AP) – 23 minutes ago

BEIJING — Medical staff raced to disinfect a sealed-off town in northwestern China on Tuesday after a third person died within four days in a pneumonic plague outbreak in the farming community of 10,000, local authorities said.

Police set up checkpoints around Ziketan in Qinghai province after the outbreak was first detected last Thursday. The lung infection is highly contagious can kill a human in 24 hours if left untreated.

Medical staff are disinfecting the area and killing rats, insects and fleas that can be carriers for the bacteria, a notice on the provincial health department Web site said. Authorities are keeping close track of people who came into contact with those infected.

Authorities urged anyone who had visited the town since mid-July and has developed a cough or fever to seek hospital treatment. Pneumonic plague is spread through the air and can be passed from person to person through coughing.

The latest victim was a 64-year-old man named Danzhi, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

He was a neighbor of a 32-year-old herdsman in Ziketan and a 37-year-old man who died earlier. A further nine people — mainly relatives of the herdsman — are infected and in a hospital, according to the local health bureau.

Of those, one is in an extremely serious condition and one other has developed symptoms of coughing and chest pain, but the rest are in stable condition and there have been no reports of new infections, Xinhua and the health department said.

Police checkpoints were set up in a 17-mile (28-kilometer) radius around Ziketan and people were not allowed to leave, a resident said. Many shops remained closed Tuesday, residents said, although more vehicles were out on the street.

Some people tried to leave the quarantined area on Monday evening after the third death was reported, mostly by foot, one resident reached by The Associated Press said Tuesday.

"A lot of people ran off last night when they heard that another person died of this plague. They are mostly from other provinces," said a foodseller surnamed Han who runs a stall at the Crystal Alley Market. "They headed back home with food, mineral water and their donkeys."

It was unclear if the people who headed out of the town made it past the police checkpoints. Officials at the local and provincial level were unavailable to comment.

According to the World Health Organization, pneumonic plague is one of the deadliest infectious diseases, capable of killing humans within 24 hours of infection.

A 2006 WHO report from an international meeting on plague cited a Chinese government disease expert as saying that most cases of the plague in China's northwest occur when hunters are contaminated while skinning infected animals.

Pneumonic plague is caused by the same bacteria that causes bubonic plague — the Black Death that killed an estimated 25 million people in Europe in the Middle Ages. However, bubonic plague is usually transmitted by flea bites and can be easily treated with antibiotics.


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Guest DisposableHeroes

Beluga whale Mila spotted diver Yang Yun struggling in the water at Polar Land in Harbin, northeast China.

A beluga whale saved a drowning diver by hoisting her to the surface, carrying her leg in its mouth.

Terrified Yang Yun thought she was going to die when her legs were paralyzed by crippling cramps in arctic temperatures. Competitors had to sink to the bottom of an aquarium's 20-foot arctic pool and stay there for as long as possible with the beluga whales at Polar Land in Harbin, north east China.

But when Yun, 26, tried to head to the surface she struggled to move her legs.

"I began to choke and sank even lower and I thought that was it for me - I was dead. Until I felt this incredible force under me driving me to the surface," Yun said.

Beluga whale Mila had spotted her difficulties and using her sensitive dolphin-like nose guided Yun safely to the surface.



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Plague patient 'near death' in remote Chinese town

By GILLIAN WONG (AP) – 1 hour ago

BEIJING — Public buses were ordered off the roads of a remote Chinese town to control the possible spread of deadly pneumonic plague that has killed three people and seemed poised to claim a fourth victim Wednesday, residents and authorities said.

One patient hospitalized with the highly infectious lung disease was "near death" while another person was in serious condition, according to a notice from the health bureau of northwestern Qinghai province, where the stricken town of Ziketan is located. Seven others infected were "basically stable," the notice said.

Police have set up checkpoints around Ziketan, a farming town of 10,000 people in an ethnically Tibetan area, sealing it off to prevent the spread of the disease that can kill in as few as 24 hours if left untreated. Residents have reported that some people have tried to flee the town on foot, though it's unclear if they made it past the checkpoints.

Authorities have set up a cordon with a 17-mile (28-kilometer) radius around Ziketan, more than 300 miles (480 kilometers) west of Beijing, residents say. Calls to the town and provincial public security bureaus rang unanswered.

Public buses were pulled off the streets, and few shops were open, according to a food seller living in Ziketan, surnamed Han. The public have been told to disinfect their homes and shops, he said.

"Yesterday afternoon there were police patrolling on the streets, advising the shops to close," said Han, who gave only his surname because of the sensitivity of the issue. "I took a stroll out of my shop earlier this morning and found that only around 20 shops are open in town. There are few people or vehicles on the streets."

China has had previous cases of plague, a disease that circulates mainly among small animals like rats and mice but can also infect humans. Experts have said most cases in China's northwest occur when hunters are contaminated while skinning infected animals.

Pneumonic plague is the least common and most deadly form of the disease. It can be directly spread between humans since the bacteria is airborne and can easily be inhaled by those in close contact with infected patients. But if treated early with antibiotics, it is curable.

The outbreak, first detected July 30, has killed three. There have been no reports of new infections and authorities continue to track close contacts of the sickened, the health bureau said.

The three were neighbors, and most of the other sickened people are relatives of the first victim, a 32-year-old herdsman who became ill after burying his dog, according to a spokesman with the provincial government surnamed Wang.

Worldwide, thousands of plague cases are reported each year, mostly in Africa. Between 1998 and 2008, nearly 24,000 cases were reported, including about 2,000 deaths, in Africa, Asia, the Americas and eastern Europe.


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so even with drugs the risk of mortality is decreased to 15% , yet this figure is surely vastly higher than the mortality of swine flu?

WHO is full of shite

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Outbreak linked to dead dog

+ - 08:18, August 06, 2009

The origin of the pneumonic plague might be the dog raised by the first victim, disease control specialists discovered yesterday.

The victim, a 32-year-old herdsman, owned a dog that died after contracting the plague from an ill wild marmot.

While the herdsman was burying the body of the dog, he was beaten by the fleas residing on the dead animal, causing him to contract the deadly plague, Wang Hu, a local disease control official, told Xinhua News Agency.

Three days later, the herdsman fell ill of the plague and eventually died, said the director of the Qinghai provincial center for disease prevention and control.

The pneumonic plague usually contaminates humans in one of three ways: through fleas that pass the bacteria from animals to humans, through the mouth-to-mouth contact or saliva exchanges among humans, and finally, through having wounds exposed to sick animals, he said.

The first victim fell ill through close contact with the animal. The disease spread as he talked to others in his village, health experts have predicted. "The first victim had no protection methods when burying the dead animal and was wearing no protection when keeping close contact with residents around him. These caused the spreading of the plague," Wang added.


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Plague-Spreading Fleas Gain Ground, May Spur Cases (Update1)

By Jason Gale

Aug. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Plague-spreading fleas are expanding their territory, putting more people at risk of catching the lethal illness, a World Health Organization official said.

Three people in China were reported the past week to have died from pneumonic plague, the pneumonia-causing form of the bacterial disease. Centuries after bubonic plague, the most common form, killed millions in medieval Europe, the scourge remains entrenched in parts of Africa, Asia and the Americas.

Areas where it circulates among rodents and the fleas that feed on them are widening, and increased human activity in central Asia and other affected areas is heightening the risk of human infection, said Eric Bertherat, a WHO doctor who has investigated outbreaks for eight years.

“It means that we can expect more sporadic human cases in the future,†Bertherat said yesterday in a telephone interview from Geneva, where his agency is based.

Vaccines to protect people against plague pneumonia are being developed, with newer formulations being tested for safety and effectiveness, Thomas Butler, a researcher at the Ross University School of Medicine in North Brunswick, New Jersey, said in a review article in the September issue of the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

“Crossing into the 21st century, it has attracted particular attention as a potential bioweapon, for which a new vaccine needs to be developed,†Butler wrote.

Black Death

Plague is caused by Yersinia pestis, the bacterium responsible for the Black Death that killed an estimated 25 million people in Europe during the Middle Ages. Pneumonic plague is the most serious of three types of the disease and can be transmitted through coughing.

Improved hygiene and control measures, access to antibiotics and knowledge about how the disease spreads has limited the number of reported infections worldwide to about 2,000 a year, of which about 250 are fatal, Bertherat said.

Population growth, rapid urbanization, intensive farming practices and international travel are among factors that have increased the spread of infectious diseases, WHO Director- General Margaret Chan wrote in the agency’s 2007 World Health Report. New diseases are emerging at the historically unprecedented rate of one per year, Chan said.

The outbreak in China’s northwestern province of Qinghai that infected 12 people isn’t surprising because the disease is endemic in marmots, the natural reservoir for the bacterium in Central Asia, Bertherat said. In southern China, the black rat is the most common source of the disease.

Sporadic Numbers

“There have been sporadic cases in very small numbers reported in this part of China in recent years, so we are hoping that the current situation will, like before, be contained,†Vivian Tan, a spokeswoman for the WHO in Beijing, said in a Bloomberg Television interview yesterday. “We are working with the authorities to make sure that happens.â€

The Qinghai outbreak may have originated from a dog, belonging to the first victim, which died after contracting the plague from an ill, wild marmot, the China Daily reported today.

Fleas that had fed on the dog probably bit the man while he was burying the animal, Wang Hu, a local disease control official, told the Xinhua News Agency, according to the newspaper. The disease then spread to people he encountered in his village, the report said, citing health experts.

There were no new cases as of 8 p.m. yesterday, Qinghai’s health department said on its Web site. In addition to the three people who died, one person is in serious condition, one is recovering and the remaining seven cases are basically stable, the department said.

Highly Contagious

“Although pneumonic plague is something that we are concerned with because it’s highly contagious, the scenario around this cluster is not unexpected at all,†Bertherat said.

While plague is one of the most deadly infectious diseases, early diagnosis and treatment with generic antibiotics such as streptomycin and tetracycline cut patients’ mortality rate to less than 15 percent, according to the WHO. When left unchecked, infection with pneumonic plague is almost always fatal, sometimes a day after symptoms begin.

“You can be infected in the morning and dying in the evening,†Bertherat said. “It can be very rapid.â€

Most cases of plague reported worldwide occur in Africa, predominantly in the Oriental province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bertherat said.


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From Times Online August 7, 2009

Taxis charge £200 to sneak residents out of Chinese plague town

Jane Macartney in Beijing

Taxi drivers have been earning a small fortune by sneaking residents around road blocks and out of a remote Chinese town cordoned off after an outbreak of pneumonic plague.

Local officials have denied that any residents of Ziketan, a mainly ethnically Tibetan region of the western Qinghai province, have tried to escape the area by evading police checkpoints set up on roads in a 17-mile radius of the mainly nomadic farming community of about 10,000 people.

So far three people have died of the rare pneumonic plague, one of deadliest diseases known to man. Another nine are undergoing treatment in isolation wards of a local hospital and one was yesterday reported to be in critical condition.

One resident escaped and made their way to the neighbouring province of Gansu where the individual was picked up by police and placed in isolation in a local hospital. Police were aware that the person had left Ziketan and obtained their telephone number, thus enabling police in Gansu to find the escapee.

The going rate for a taxi out of Ziketan was 2,000 yuan (£200) per car. The person who escaped to Gansu was accompanied by six other people – incuding the driver. That rate is effectively a fortune in China where a single ride in most small towns cost 5 yuan (50p) and car hire for a day in rural areas is around 600 yuan (£60).

Everyone in that car – all Tibetans - was picked up by police, most in the next town of Heka.

However, Tibetans have not been the only ones trying to get out of town – even though there have been no reports of new cases and the World Health Organisation has said the outbreak of the illness has been contained.

For example, Han Chinese residents withdrew their children from a local school and demanded a refund of tuition fees because they were all leaving at once.

Many people remain in the town – mostly local Tibetans and Han Chinese who have long been residents of Qinghai. More recent arrivals from other parts of China in search of work and business opportunities in the less-developed West of the country have left, local residents said.

In the absence of reports of new cases since the first victim died on July 30, officials are now considering allowing the town to reopen on August 8, local sources said.

Occasional cases have been reported in western China, usually in Tibetan areas, over the past couple of decades, but almost all have been limited to herders in remote areas who were infected with either pneumonic or bubonic plague after eating wild marmots or being infected by fleas carried by rats. Such outbreaks are much easier to control.

However, more herders have been moved into towns in recent years as part of a policy by the authorities to provide permanent housing for nomads and establish greater control over Tibetans.

The first death was of a herdsman who succumbed to the plague three days after burying his dog, which had died suddenly, apparently after coming into contact with a diseased marmot. Another 11 people – friends and relatives – became infected after attending the man’s funeral. Pneumonic plague is spread through the air and can be passed from person to person through coughing.

The latest victim was a 64-year-old man named Danzhi. He was a neighbour of the 32-year-old herdsman and of a 37-year-old man who died at the weekend.


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Is anyone interested in this story or shall I stop posting the updates.

I post the info on other forums but don't want to keep bumping this thread if people find it irksome.

Most likely in a few more days it'll be a non-story anyway.


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