According to the BBC, a Mongolian couple died due to bubonic plague from eating raw marmot meat and kidney, which had caused a six-day quarantine in the Bayan Olgii province that borders Russia and China.
More than 100 people, including several foreign tourists, had to be isolated and treated with antibiotics while they were quarantined since May 1. This is a necessary precaution to prevent the spread of bubonic plague, which has been responsible for some of the most ghastly pandemics.
According to officials, it is believed that the couple ate raw marmot meat to seek positive health benefits.
The health officials of World Health Organization (WHO) based out of Ulaanbaatar, a Mongolia’s capital city, told BBC some people there believe that eating raw marmot is a folk remedy that is capable of promoting good health.
However, rodents and the fleas that infest them are the main transmitters of the bubonic plague.
The disease was first reported to the WHO in Mongolia in 1989, with 68 confirmed cases, resulting in 22 deaths over the next eight years. According to the WHO, most of those cases were associated with hunting marmot.
Plague is transmitted through bites from infected fleas; however, it can also be spread by direct contact with the fluids, tissues, and even air droplets of an infected animal.
Bubonic plague is a highly contagious and debilitating infectious disease, and humans are particularly vulnerable.
The symptoms appear suddenly within two to six days of bacterial invasion and then progresses rapidly. They include a headache, fever with chills, shaking, malaise, swelling and pain in lymph nodes, bleeding into the skin and other organs, pneumonia, and shock.
Typically, the symptoms resolve with a few days of antibiotic therapy in uncomplicated cases. If antibiotic therapy is not started within 18 to 24 hours of infection, it is more likely that a patient will die. Bubonic plague cases are rare now; however, it still affects most countries worldwide, including some part of the United States.