11/27/2019, 09.41
CHINA
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Inner Mongolia: Stop the spread of the bubonic plague, which has reached Beijing

by Wang Zhicheng

Already last August 12 "aggressive" plague strains were discovered in mice. But there was no communication to the health authorities. Lack of communication mirrors Sars epidemic (2003). The imbalance between urban and rural health service.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The bubonic plague has been diagnosed in a couple from Inner Mongolia, triggering the autonomous region's commitment to stop its spread and efforts to prevent it reaching the capital. The government of the Northern region has placed "filters" to check people leaving the province for possible diseases and has launched groups for medical checks and even traffic inspections.

On its own, the epidemic has already arrived in Beijing: the couple - whose name is unknown - had been treated for months in Inner Mongolia for pneumonia. Not healing, the woman was transported to Beijing in early November, where the real cause was discovered: bubonic plague.

According to research by the business magazine Caixin, as early as mid-August last, 12 "aggressive" bubonic plague strains were discovered in some mice in the northern region. But although the protocol obliges the immediate communication of the discovery to the health authorities, this did not take place. Then there was the case of the couple, with the wrong diagnosis (pneumonia), which was only resolved after the couple was transferred to Beijing.

Now Inner Mongolia seeks to regain lost time. Two problems emerge from the incident: the first is the enormous difference between the health service (in terms of staff and facilities) in cities like Beijing and the less developed countryside or regions; the second is the lack of immediate communication of the disease, which closely resembles what happened in 2003 with the Sars epidemic: for months the authorities hid the disease and the extent of the infection, leaving it to develop until it became a global epidemic.

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