Two plagues found in US and China; two killed

septicaemic plague septicaemic plague

As the world struggles to find a cure for the deadly COVID-19, a man in his 20s has just died of another life-threatening condition the septicaemic plague in the US state of New Mexico.

It comes just 24 hours after Chinese authorities reported that a man had died from bubonic plague in Inner Mongolia.

The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) said the septicaemic plague victim's health had worsened after he was hospitalised.

It was the second plague case in less than a month in the south-western state.

The NMDOH ordered an environmental investigation of his home, to assess any ongoing risk to family members and neighbours.

The bubonic plague victim in Inner Mongolia died from multiple organ failure.

It was the second death of a plague patient reported this month in the Chinese region.

Thirty-five contacts of the man have been sent into quarantine.

Sharing some symptoms with bubonic plague, septicaemic plague is a bacterial disease that can be transmitted by direct contact with animals or through infected fleas.

Animals carrying the disease can include rodents, wildlife and pets.

There was a "risk" when household pets returned home after being allowed to roam and hunt outside, the NMDOH said.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), septicaemic plague can be treated promptly with antibiotics.

Symptoms include the sudden onset of fever, chills, headache and weakness.

In most cases, there is also a painful swelling of the lymph node in the groin, armpit or neck areas.

"Plague activity in New Mexico is usually highest during the summer months, so it is especially important now to take precautions to avoid rodents and their fleas which can expose you to plague," NMDOH secretary Kathy Kunkel said.Last month, a man in his 60s was diagnosed with bubonic plague in New Mexico's Santa Fe County.

He was recovering in hospital, the NMDOH said on July 27.

The bubonic plague was known as the "Black Death" in the Middle Ages, causing the deaths of more than 75 million people and peaking in Europe between 1347-51.

According to NSW Health, plague is not found in Australia.

The Federal Department of Health website says that in the unlikely case that someone arrives in Australia and becomes ill with plague, the country has the antibiotics available to treat it.

Source: ABC/wires