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WHO doesn't see bubonic plague in China as high risk: spokeswoman

GENEVA (Reuters) - An apparent outbreak of bubonic plague in China is being “well managed” and is not considered to represent a high risk, a World Health Organization (WHO) official said on Tuesday.

Local authorities in the city of Bayan Nur in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia issued a warning on Sunday, one day after a hospital reported a case of suspected bubonic plague. It followed four reported cases of plague in people there last November, including two of pneumonic plague, a deadlier variant.

“We are monitoring the outbreaks in China, we are watching that closely and in partnership with the Chinese authorities and Mongolian authorities,” WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris told a U.N. press briefing in Geneva.

“At the moment we are not...considering it high-risk but we are watching it, monitoring it carefully,” she added.

The bubonic plague, known as the “Black Death” in the Middle Ages, is a highly infectious and often fatal disease that is spread mostly by rodents. Cases are not uncommon in China although they are becoming increasingly rare.

Reporting by Emma Farge and Stephanie Nebehay, Editing by Michael Shields

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