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Pneumonic plague tied to Black Death sickens people in Beijing, China

Two patients in China were diagnosed with plague, the deadly and infectious disease tied to historic pandemics, local media reported.

The two people, from Inner Mongolia, were treated for pneumonic plague in Beijing’s Chaoyang district, local health officials said Tuesday, according to Caixin and state-media Xinhua

The news outlets reported the patients received “proper treatment,” and disease control measures and prevention methods have been taken. 

According to Caixin, the patients were treated at Chaoyang Hospital, which has since replaced all chairs in its emergency room.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said the patients were quickly isolated and health officials investigated everyone who could have been exposed to them, the New York Times reported. Chinese health officials also called the risk for further infections “extremely low.”

Pneumonic plague is one of three forms of the infectious disease and the only one that can be transmitted from person to person by inhaling infected droplets – for example, spread when someone breathes in cough droplets from an infected person.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls pneumonic plague the “most serious form of the disease.” All three forms are caused by the Yersinia pestis bacterium.

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