A 3-year-old boy in China has been infected with bubonic plague, according to a report.
The child, from Menghai county, located in Yunnan Province in southwestern China, suffered a mild infection but is now in stable condition following treatment, the Global Times of India reported. No other infections have reportedly been identified.
The boy’s case came to light following a countywide screening for the disease, which was prompted after “three rats were found dead for unknown reasons in a village,” the outlet reported.
Known as the “Black Death,” bubonic plague can be fatal in up to 90% of people infected if not treated, primarily with several types of antibiotics. An outbreak in the Middle Ages killed millions of people.
Pneumonic plague can develop from bubonic plague and results in a severe lung infection causing shortness of breath, headache and coughing.
China has largely eradicated plague, but occasional cases are still reported. Inner Mongolia reported four cases of bubonic plague in November 2019, according to Bloomberg, while Mongolia, a country that borders the Chinese autonomous region, reported two cases earlier this year.
“Infected rats are a key source of the disease, which also transmits to humans through bites from infected fleas,” Wang Peiyu, a deputy head of Peking University’s School of Public Health, told Global Times. He claimed the disease is “unlikely to spread” in Yunnan.
More specifically, the organism Yersinia pestis causes the disease.
Symptoms of bubonic plague — the most common form of the disease, per the Mayo Clinic, and not to be confused with septicemic and pneumonic plague — include swollen lymph nodes commonly in the armpit, neck or groin, as well as fever, headache, fatigue and muscle aches.
Fox News’s Stephen Sorace and the Associated Press contributed to this report.