According to Chinese news agency Xinhua, the unidentified patient was diagnosed with bubonic plague on Saturday but is believed to have eaten the rabbit on November 5 in Inner Mongolia’s Huade County. The patient is currently receiving treatment at a hospital in the city of Huade.
The bubonic plague, which is also known as black death, is caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis and can spread through infected fleas or through handling animals infected with the disease, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports. Symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, chills, headache, fatigue and muscle aches. The plague is rarely spread through human contact.
An additional 28 people in Inner Mongolia have been quarantined after coming in contact with the hunter diagnosed with bubonic plague, but none of those people have shown any symptoms of the disease.
Earlier this month on November 12, the Chinese Regional Health Commission revealed that two people were being treated for the pneumonic plague in Beijing. The pneumonic plague, a severe lung infection that is also caused by the Yersinia pestis bacteria, is one of three types of the disease, along with the bubonic and septicemic varieties. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the pneumonic plague is the most severe type of the illness.
“Any person with pneumonic plague may transmit the disease via droplets to other humans. Untreated pneumonic plague, if not diagnosed and treated early, is fatal,” the WHO explains.
The plague is notorious for having killed tens of millions of people in Asia and Europe during the 14th century.
Although the plague was deadly during the Middle Ages, it can now be treated effectively with modern antibiotics if treatment is sought quickly. The plague still does affect rural parts of the western US, but more frequently affects parts of Africa and Asia, according to the CDC.