August 10, 2009

China Lifts Pneumonic Plague Quarantine

Chinese authorities have halted the quarantine that was set upon a small town of 10,000 people in order to contain a lethal epidemic of pneumonic plague.

Local authorities took the order away on Saturday after no new cases were found or reported in a week, the Beijing News daily announced.

The presence of the very vituperative disease killed three people in Ziketan, a town in the Qinghai province in China's northwest region.

Ziketan locals contacted by AFP Wednesday noted that some individuals had tried to escape the quarantine zone, which covered 1,400 square miles.

However, officials said on Thursday that no one had fled from the area and no new cases were reported.

The World Health Organization notes that pneumonic plague is the most dangerous but least common variety of plague. The death rate can be high, but swift antibiotic treatment is highly effective.


Image Caption: Pneumonic plague is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis.