At least two people in China are under close observation and are receiving treatment for infections from the same plague that also ravaged Europe until the mid-1300s.
No, it's not the ugly plot of a pandemic movie, but it's certainly the worst "back to the future" we could wish for: after killing at least a third of the European population 700 years ago (but even then there were outbreaks in Asia) the black plague has set foot on the planet.
The two cases originated in northern China and were confirmed by Beijing doctors 4 days ago.
The airborne variant of the plague, which affects the lungs, can easily spread to others through the air. It is one of the three main forms of plague infection, along with bubonic and septicemic infection. It is precisely she believes to be responsible for pandemic of black plague that killed between 25 and 50 million Europeans remaining in our imagination also by virtue of Alessandro Manzoni and his "I Promessi sposi".
Although it has not triggered large-scale epidemics for centuries, this bacterial infection is known to persist in some animal populations in Asia, the Americas and Africa.
Lung form is rare and considered a more serious threat. The black plague is almost always fatal if not promptly treated.
Few details, much fear
The Chinese news agency Xinhua did not offer many details in its original report, leaving some questions unanswered. I searched the internet, even for Chinese engines (I can't tell you how) black plague images, or china bubonic plague, but nothing.
It is unclear what condition the two patients are in or whether they have had contact with others who may now be infected or experiencing the first symptoms.
The report notes laconically that "Relevant disease prevention and control measures have been taken", but when dealing with something as serious as the black plague, you want to get as much information as possible.
The black plague, a ferocious animal
Plague can be transmitted to humans in a number of ways, but the most common route of transmission is through contact with an infected animal, often a rodent (albeit recently the mice were "cleared" of the accusation of having started the pandemic of the '300). Sure, a bite from a plague-positive rodent can transmit the infection, but even a flea bite can be enough. A US pandemic of plague today would literally decimate the population, given the suboptimal health conditions of certain health centers. In Italy I don't even want to think about it, the plague of 1348 could be outclassed.
With proper antibiotics the infection can be beaten, but it all depends on the timing of the diagnosis.