Chinese authorities have confirmed a case of bubonic plague in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, according to the BBC.
The disease, which caused the ‘Black Death’ pandemic in the 14th century – which killed around 50 million people – is zoonotic, meaning it spreads from animals to humans.
The plague, which is caused by a bacterial infection, is now easy to treat using antibiotics.
According to reports, the disease was confirmed in a herdsman in Bayannu, which is about 560 miles northwest of Beijing. He is now in stable condition and quarantined. A second case involving a 15-year-old is yet to be confirmed.
The origin of the confirmed case is unclear, with sources suggesting that the teenager ‘had apparently been in contact with a marmot hunted by a dog’.
As a result, authorities have put a level 3 alert – which bans hunting and eating animals who could carry plague and asks the public to report suspected cases – in place until the end of 2020.
Experts have said it is unlikely that the situation could lead to an epidemic, thanks to medical progress.
Speaking about the disease last year, Dr. Shanti Kappagoda, an infectious diseases doctor at Stanford Health Care, told Heathline: “Unlike in the 14th Century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted.
“We know how to prevent it. We are also able to treat patients who are infected with effective antibiotics and can give antibiotics to people who may have been exposed to the bacteria [and] prevent them [from] getting sick.”