An outbreak of pneumonic plague has been reported in China, where the authorities have quarantined the town of Ziketan in Qinghai province, NW China. This is a predominately rural area where similar outbreaks have been reported in recent years. Two men died from the disease over the weekend.
The disease, a highly contagious form of plague, can be treated with antibiotics, but only if given early. It is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, which is spread by rats and other rodents via the fleas which live on them. Unlike bubonic plague, this plague can be spread by human-to-human contact.
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