2 Eat Rodent’s Raw Kidney, Get Bubonic Plague In China

“The plague is now categorized by WHO as a re-emerging disease … Left untreated, it is always fatal.” 

Nov 13, 2019 |

Another absurd myth from traditional Chinese medicine has horrific consequences 

CNN – Two people in China are being treated for plague, authorities said Tuesday.

It’s the second time the disease, the same one that caused the Black Death, one of the deadliest pandemics in human history, has been detected in the region — in May, a Mongolian couple died from bubonic plague after eating the raw kidney of a marmot, a local folk health remedy.

The two recent patients, from the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia, were diagnosed with pneumonic plague by doctors in the Chinese capital Beijing, according to state media Xinhua.

They are now receiving treatment in Beijing’s Chaoyang District, and authorities have implemented preventative control measures.

Plague, caused by bacteria and transmitted through flea bites and infected animals, can develop in three different forms.

Bubonic plague causes swollen lymph nodes, while septicemic plague infects the blood and pneumonic plague infects the lungs.

Pneumonic — the kind the Chinese patients have — is more virulent and damaging.

Left untreated, it is always fatal, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

During the Middle Ages, plague outbreaks devastated Europe, killing around 50 million people.

Since then, we’ve invented antibiotics, which can treat most infections if they are caught early enough — but the plague isn’t gone. In fact, it’s made a recent comeback.

“[The] World Health Organization has estimated that 80% of inhabitants of Asia and Africa are dependent on traditional methods of treatment. The best known and most widespread is Traditional Chinese medicine, [which] uses around 2,000 plant species and 200 animal species, including endangered ones.” – stolenwildlife.org

From 2010 to 2015, more than 3,248 cases were reported worldwide, including 584 deaths, according to the WHO.

The three most endemic countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, and Peru.

In the United States, there have been anywhere from a few to a few dozen cases of plague every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2015, two people in Colorado died from the plague, and the year before there were eight reported cases in the state.

Having caused close to 50,000 human cases during the past 20 years, the plague is now categorized by WHO as a re-emerging disease.

According to the CDC, people usually get plague after being bitten by a rodent flea … Read more. 

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Marmots

IMAGE: Inklein, CC BY-SA 3.0

Marmots are large rodents with characteristically short but robust legs, enlarged claws well adapted to digging, stout bodies and large heads and incisors to quickly process a variety of vegetation.

While most species are various forms of earthen-hued brown, marmot vary in pelage coloration based roughly on their surroundings with species in more open habitat types more likely to have a paler color while those partially found in well-forested regions tend to be darker.

Marmots are the largest members of the squirrel family.

Total length varies typically from about 42 to 72 cm (17 to 28 in) and body mass in the smaller species averages about 2 kg (4.4 lb) in spring in the smaller species and 8 kg (18 lb) in autumn, at times exceeding 11 kg (24 lb), in the larger species.

The largest and smallest species are not clearly known.

In North America, based on mean linear dimensions and body masses through the year, the smallest species appears to be the Alaska marmot and the largest is the Olympic marmot.

Some species, such as the Himalayan marmot and Tarbagan marmot, in Asia appear to attain roughly similar body masses to the Olympic marmot but are not known to reach as high a total length as the Olympic species.

In the traditional definition of hibernation, the largest marmots are considered the largest “true hibernators” (since larger “hibernators” such as bears do not have the same physiological characteristics as obligate hibernating animals such as assorted rodents, bats and insectivores.

Some species live in mountainous areas, such as the Alps, northern Apennines, Carpathians, Tatras, and Pyrenees in Europe; northwestern Asia; the Rocky Mountains, Black Hills, the Cascade and Pacific Ranges, and the Sierra Nevada in North America; and the Deosai Plateau in Pakistan and Ladakh in India.

Other species prefer rough grassland and can be found widely across North America and the Eurasian Steppe. The slightly smaller and more social prairie dog is not classified in the genus Marmota, but in the related genus Cynomys.

Marmots typically live in burrows (often within rockpiles, particularly in the case of the yellow-bellied marmot), and hibernate there through the winter.

Most marmots are highly social and use loud whistles to communicate with one another, especially when alarmed.

Marmots mainly eat greens and many types of grasses, berries, lichens, mosses, roots, and flowers.