China has sealed off parts of its northwestern city of Yumen
after a resident died of bubonic plague last week.
A 38-year-old victim was infected by a marmot, a wild rodent,
and died on July 16. Several districts of the city of about
100,000 people in Gansu province were subsequently turned
into special quarantine zones, Xinhua said.
It said 151 people who came into direct contact with the
victim were also placed in quarantine. None have so far shown
any signs of infection, the news agency said.
The city had set aside 1 million yuan for emergency
vaccinations, the Jiuquan Daily, a local newspaper, said on
The plague is a bacterial disease spread by the fleas of wild
rodents such as marmots. While the disease can be effectively
treated, patients can die 24 hours after the initial
infection, the World Health Organisation says.
Outbreaks in China have been rare in recent years, and most
have happened in remote rural areas of the west. China's
state broadcaster said there were 12 diagnosed cases and
three deaths in the province of Qinghai in 2009, and one in
Sichuan in 2012.
Beijing's disease control centre sought to dispel worries
about a wider outbreak of the disease in China, saying on its
website (www.bjcdc.org) that the risk of the
disease spreading to the capital was minimal.