The Black Death in China

Man dies of bubonic plague, state places dozens under quarantine

A hospital and more than 100 Chinese were under quarantine after a man died of bubonic plague on July 16.

State officials said the 38-year-old man, who died in Yumen City in China’s Gasnu province, is believed to have come into contact with a dead marmot (pictured), which he fed to his dog, according to BBC News. In response, a total of 151 people who had been in contact with the man were placed under observation until the quarantine was lifted on July 24; none showed signs of infection.

Recent outbreaks of bubonic plague—which, of course, was responsible for one of the largest pandemics in human history, killing an estimated 75 million to 200 million people in medieval Europe—have demonstrated that it can reappear in areas that have long been free of the disease. For instance, Yumen hadn’t recorded a case of bubonic plague since 1977.