Authorities in a city in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia issued a warning on Sunday, one day after a hospital reported a case of suspected bubonic plague.

The health committee of the city of Bayan Nur issued the third-level alert, the second-lowest in a four-level system.

The alert forbids the hunting and eating of animals that could carry plague and asks the public to report any suspected cases of plague or fever with no clear causes, and to report any sick or dead marmots.

SABC Correspondent Patrick Fok has more from Beijing: 

Sunday’s warning follows four reported cases of plague in people from Inner Mongolia last November, including two of pneumonic plague, a deadlier variant of plague.

The bubonic plague, known as the “Black Death” in the Middle Ages, is a highly infectious and often fatal disease that is spread mostly by rodents.

Plague cases are not uncommon in China, but outbreaks have become increasingly rare. From 2009 to 2018, China reported 26cases and 11 deaths.

Russia cracks down on marmot hunting after bubonic plague alert

Russia said on Monday it had stepped up patrols to stop people hunting marmots near its border China and Mongolia after the countries reported possible cases of bubonic plague, which can be carried by the animals.

Authorities in Bayan Nur, a city in the Chinese region of inner Mongolia, issued a warning on Sunday after a hospital reported a suspected case of the deadly disease.

The Chinese region forbade the hunting and eating of the large rodents and asked the public to report any suspected cases, as well as any sick or dead marmots.

Neighbouring Mongolia also reported two cases of bubonic plague linked to people eating marmot meat in its western Khovdprovince last week.

Authorities in Russia’s Altai region, which borders Kazakhstan, China and Mongolia, said officials were patrolling the area to enforce a ban on hunting marmots and to warn people about the dangers, TASS news agency reported.

The local branch of Rospotrebnadzor, the consumer health watchdog, said the cases across the border did not pose a threat to people in Altai, TASS reported.