A married couple is believed to have died of bubonic plague and several dozen people who were in the town where the couple fell ill are now under quarantine while over 150 others are under close supervision.
The man, a Kazakh tourist named only as Citizen T, and his pregnant wife, are believed to have fallen ill after hunting and eating the raw kidneys of a contaminated marmot (a large species of squirrel), in Mongolia. An old Mongolian tradition says that a raw meat and internal organs of freshly killed marmot strengthens health.
Dr N. Tsogbadrakh, director of National Centre for Zoonotic Dermatology and Medicine, said: “Despite the fact that eating marmots is banned, Citizen T hunted marmot. He ate the meat and gave it to his wife, and they died because the plague affected his stomach.” The couple was in their 30s and leave behind 4 children.
The plague is a bacterial disease that’s spread by fleas living on wild rodents, including marmots. As per the World Health Organization, the disease can kill an adult within 1 to 10 days if not treated with antibiotics in time. Without treatment, the plague kills up to 90% of those infected. With treatment, the percentage of fatalities reduces to about 10%.
As The Siberian Times, a plane traveling from Ulgii, a town on the Russia/Mongolia border, where the couple became sick, was met by workers in white anti-contamination suites as it landed in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar. More than 150 people in Ulgii remain under supervision.
Meanwhile, tourists from the U.S., Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, South Korea, Germany and Russia have not been allowed to leave Ulgii, as the entire town has now been shut for quarantine.
Town in Mongolia closed for quarantine after Bubonic plague claimed two lives. US, Dutch, Swiss, Swedish, South Korean, German and Russian tourists banned from leaving the area https://t.co/q6byexWMZH pic.twitter.com/rGdtAXOpgW
— The Siberian Times (@siberian_times) May 4, 2019
The Mongolian Ministry of Health said they didn’t think that the situation with the plague was critical or near epidemic. However, there’s been no deadline announced for the quarantine. In the worst case scenario, it can last as long as 21 days.
UPDATE: In total, 124 people were determined to have been in contact with the couple. They were isolated and treated with antibiotics as a precaution. With none of the detained tourists showing any signs or symptoms of the plague, the quarantine was lifted after 6 days.
Bubonic plague is believed to be the cause of the Black Death that spread through Asia, Europe and Africa in the 14th century. It killed roughly 50 million people.
Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love if you decided to hang around and clicked the button on the top (if you’re on your computer) or the bottom (if you’re on your phone/tablet) of this page to follow our blog and get emailed notifications of when we post (it’s usually just two or three times a day). Or maybe you’d like to join our Facebook group, where we talk and ask questions about travel (including Disney parks), creative ways to earn frequent flyer miles and hotel points, how to save money on or for your trips, get access to travel articles you may not see otherwise, etc. Whether you’ve read our posts before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!
This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary