Two people in China were recently diagnosed with pneumonic plague, which is related to bubonic plague.
The two people were diagnosed after seeking treatment at a hospital in Beijing, The New York Times reported Wednesday, citing the government office for Beijing’s Chaoyang district. The people reportedly came from Inner Mongolia, a region in northern China.
The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement that the risk of transmission was “extremely low,” and that people should not panic, according to The times. The center said authorities quickly isolated the patients and investigated people who could have had exposure to them.
The newspaper reported that fears were increasing in the country about a potential plague outbreak. The bubonic plague killed millions of people in Europe and Asia in the 1300s.
A doctor at Beijing Chaoyang Hospital, Li Jifeng, wrote in a now-deleted post on a social media platform that the people came for treatment on Nov. 3, according to the Times.
Li wrote that the patient she saw was a middle-aged man who had a fever and breathing difficulties, according to the newspaper.
“After so many years of specialist training, I’m familiar with the diagnosis and treatment of most respiratory diseases,” Li wrote. “But this time, I looked and looked at it. I couldn’t guess what pathogen caused this pneumonia. I only knew it was rare.”
The Times reported that Chinese censors told online news aggregators to “block and control” conversations relating to plague news.
The paper also noted, citing the World Health Organization, that pneumonic plague is fatal if left untreated but that there are strong recovery rates if the condition is treated within 24 hours of symptoms starting.