Two people dead of pneumonic plague

A second man has died of pneumonic plague in a remote part of north-western China where thousands of people have been quarantined.
The man was identified by Chinese state media as a neighbour aged 37 of the first victim, who was 32, in Ziketan, near Xinghai in Qinghai Province.

BBC: Second plague death in west China

I read this and decided not to freak, at first. I should wiki it before I worry. Lots of diseases have been labeled as ‘bubonic’, and not all of them decimate whole human populations. You know; there’s the flu and the there is the Spanish flu, responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths in a single season in 1918.
So I wiki Pneumonic plague and read:

Pneumonic plague is the second most virulent and second least common form of plague (after septicemic plague), caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Typically, pneumonic form is due to a secondary spread from advanced infection of an initial bubonic form. Primary pneumonic plague results from inhalation of aerosolized infective droplets and can be transmitted from human to human without involvement of fleas or animals. Untreated pneumonic plague has a very high case-fatality ratio.

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Can I worry now? May I freak, please? No, I know better. Even after we “eradicated” Smallpox, there were several cases a year and some small outbreaks in other countries. So, best not to freak and resume living my life.

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7 thoughts on “Two people dead of pneumonic plague

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  1. I have read of a couple of plague cases in the medical literature where the bacteria responsible (y. Pestis) showed signs of multi-drug resistance.

    If the same scenario happens in a large city and the disease develops into a pneumonic form we will be completely unprepared. This will become a global pandemic in a very short time.

    There is a defense against it since there is plague vaccine available. However 1 It is a preliminary measure not a post-facto cure. 2 Stocks of vaccine are very small.

    Hence there is real necessity of stockpiling plague vaccine that the WHO needs to address. On the other hand, plague itself is nature’s third-line defence against overpopulation 🙂 (first being scarcity of resources and second, -genetic sterility/other genetic disorders)

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