Home Travel Bubonic Plague: U.S. & European Tourists Quarantined After Couple Dies From The Disease

Bubonic Plague: U.S. & European Tourists Quarantined After Couple Dies From The Disease

by SharonKurheg

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.


Marmot. Source: Wikipedia

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.

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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.

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.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


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