8 Jul 2020 11:27

Rodents hunted down in Buryatia regions bordering Mongolia due to bubonic plague outbreak

ULAN-UDE. July 8 (Interfax) - Buryatia has prepared an action plan to prevent bubonic plague importation from Mongolia, a spokesman for the republican branch of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor) told Interfax on Wednesday.

"For the purpose of containing the dangerous infectious disease, the branch and the republic's Health Ministry have prepared and started to implement at border checkpoints a plan of preventive and anti-epidemic measures against plague importation and spread," the spokesman said.

In particular, the area is undergoing an animal health check. Small mouse-like mammals caught on the border with Mongolia are tested for plague. All plague antigen tests conducted in Buryatia by now have come back negative.

Plague prevention measures taken in Buryatia are relevant due to the existence of active natural plague foci in neighboring Mongolia, the spokesman said. Isolated plague cases are reported from Mongolian districts bordering Russia from time to time, as a rule, patients consume raw groundhog meat and internal organs.

The agency noted that plague importation into Russia from Mongolia and China had been minimal because the borders remained closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, there is a domestic risk of infection, which could spread from natural plague foci in Tuva, Altai, and the Transbaikal Territory.

"Therefore, the preparedness of the republic's healthcare institutions to fight the epidemic and the availability of emergency supply of preventive and personal protective equipment and disinfectants are continuously monitored in collaboration with the Buryatia Health Ministry," the spokesman for the Rospotrebnadzor branch said.

The Buryatia Tourism Ministry has been advised to constantly interact with legal entities and individual entrepreneurs operating in the field of tourism. The ministry was compelled to issue alerts for citizens planning to visit areas running the plague risk.

Chinese media said on Monday that another bubonic plague case was reported from Bayan-Olgii in western Mongolia - a 15-year-old patient fell ill after eating groundhog meat. Two more bubonic plague cases were reported earlier from western Mongolia and one from the Inner Mongolia region of northern China.