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Tourist couple eats marmot meat - and becomes infected with bubonic plague
A Mongolian custom has been doomed to two parents-to-be. The pair (37 and 38) ate the raw liver of a marmot. This infected her with the bacterial bubonic plague. A short time later, the Russian couple was dead. Now hundreds of travelers are stuck in the Mongolian town of Ölgii. The Ministry of Health has issued a quarantine to prevent the plague from spreading further. Two Germans are also said to be among the tourists who are currently not allowed to leave the city.
A Russian tourist couple died of fatal bubonic plague after eating marmot liver. "The husband and his pregnant wife had contracted the plague in the Mongolian city of Ölgii in the west of the country," confirmed a spokesman for the Ministry of Health of Mongolia. The couple left four children between the ages of 2 and 13.
Complete city cordoned off
As the spokesman emphasized, "the entire city was quarantined". Dozens of tourists are currently not allowed to leave the city because they are also barred from leaving the city. According to the authorities, holidaymakers from Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the USA are among the travelers. "Such quarantine can last up to 21 days," says the local health department.
The plague is one of the deadliest epidemics in human history. Especially in the Middle Ages, the "Black Death", as people called the infectious disease at the time, claimed millions of lives. Even today, there are still outbreaks in some regions, as this current example shows.
Contact persons are under surveillance
160 other people are also under constant medical observation because they had come into contact with the deceased couple. "Half the city is closed due to some plague-infested marmots," said a tourist in the Russian newspaper "Sibirian Times". “We were just about to leave Ölgii and go deeper into Mongolia. But all roads out of the city are tight and we are not allowed out. It's just surreal, ”the travelers said in the newspaper.
A spokesman justified the restrictive measures. “The plague is a highly contagious bacterial infectious disease. We have to prevent it from spreading. ” The most common form that occurs is the so-called bubonic plague. It starts with fever, headache, body aches and inflammation of the lymph nodes in the groin area. Fleas from rodents and marmots are common carriers.
Mongolia is a danger area
According to the Federal Foreign Office, Mongolia is a danger area. The state is one of the few countries in which the plague occurs again and again. The pest is transmitted either through direct contact with marmots or through eating meat that has not fully cooked.
The Federal Foreign Office therefore emphasizes that contact with the animals should be avoided and that raw meat should not be eaten. Travelers should take these precautions for their own health: “Treat pets against fleas to prevent transmission, DEET-containing mosquito sprays prevent fleas from being transmitted to humans; avoid contact with sick and dead rodents. ” However, there is no increased risk of infection for normal travelers, the authority said.
Can the plague rage again?
Can the plague, like in the Middle Ages, cost hundreds of thousands of lives? This is unlikely in Western countries. Only in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and California are infections reported again and again. Health and safety regulations in aviation and shipping, rat extermination on ships, mandatory reporting of the plague and very good hygiene make it difficult for the pathogen to spread. In addition, antibiotics can quickly get the infection under control if it is recognized in good time.
WHO is concerned
The World Health Organization (WHO) has also kept an eye on the deadly infectious disease. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar and Peru in particular, fatalities occur again and again. For more information, read the article: WHO warns of plague return. (sb)