COVID-19 cases and deaths are still increasing dramatically several months after the disease was first discovered in Wuhan, China. Amid the current situation, there is another reason to worry about a new pandemic after a Mongolian herdsman was infected by bubonic plague – the same bacteria that caused millions of deaths in the past.

On July 5, Chinese health authorities confirmed a bubonic plague case in a local from the northern city of Bayannur, Inner Mongolia. The bubonic plague was said to have originated from a wild animal.

Considering the bubonic plague ended millions of lives during the 14th century, there is no doubt why a lot of people are worried it could worsen the world's problem with coronavirus. But is there any reason for us to fear this plague at present?


Bubonic plague is a disease caused by a bacteria known as Yersinia pestis bacterium. The places most affected by the plague were Europe, Asia and Africa.

During the 14th Century, about 50 million people lost their lives because of the outbreak. The impact was so huge that a fifth of London's population perished. In China and India, moreover, 12 million people were killed.

Though rats used to be blamed for the spread of the plague, experts found that they were not the only culprits. Studies show that transmission of the bacteria also could occur through parasites like lice and fleas, as reported by Live Science.


Though the bubonic plague that sprang most recently in Inner Mongolia created an instant buzz worldwide, experts say several bubonic cases had occurred before that, with Madagascar being one of the affected areas.

Madagascar reported about 300 bubonic cases in 2017. But, with the current medication and antibiotic treatments for such disease, only 30 people died because of it, as shared by BBC.

Dr. Shanti Kappagoda, an infectious diseases doctor at Standford Health Care, shared several reasons why bubonic plague cases nowadays won't possibly lead to another pandemic. According to the expert, our health authorities are now more equipped with knowledge about the disease than they had before.

Kappagoda further shared that authorities now know how to handle the disease properly, especially when it comes to its transmission and prevention. We also have antibiotics that can effectively and efficiently treat patients infected by the bacteria, unlike the situation in the past.