Oh great, the bubonic plague is back

Illustration for article titled Oh great, the bubonic plague is back
Photo: Lastovetskiy (iStock)

Really 2019, you’ve outdone yourself. There is nothing more our world needs now than a new case of the bubonic plague. I appreciate how the year just continues to deliver such grand surprises. The hits keep coming!

The news of the plague reappearing in Mongolia is more tragic than terrifying, as The Washington Post reports two people in Tsagaannuur, a town in the country’s westernmost province, died a few weeks ago after consuming the raw kidney of a marmot that was infected with the plague. The couple, both in their late 30s, leave behind four young children. It’s believed they ate the marmot meat believing it had beneficial health properties.

Their deaths prompted a six-day quarantine of the entire town of 1,400 people, who stayed inside for fear the disease could spread, Agence France-Presse reports. Tourists who had been staying in the region, which borders China and Russia, were unable to leave during the quarantine. The area has since been declared safe after no new cases were reported.


Authorities have in the past warned residents of central Asian nations against eating marmot, as it can be infected with the plague. In 2013, a 15-year-old boy in Kyrgyzstan died from the disease after eating the barbecued rodent. NPR notes antibiotics can treat the plague if administered quickly, but that there is typically one death per year from the disease in Mongolia.

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.

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actually, it never went away, it’s just that antibiotics can cure it if you get them in time & most people don’t live in houses whose floors are covered in rushes & filled with vermin or eat raw animals. people still get it in america (the trick is to get it diagnosed right away, most docs don’t know what it presents as). eating squirrel brains caused an outbreak of “mad cow disease” in tennessee a few years ago. you can get leprosy from armadillos. in closing: nature, a bitch, out to get us.