ULAN BATOR, Sept.5 (Xinhua) -- A suspected case of bubonic plague reported in Zavkhan province in western Mongolia has been confirmed by lab test results, the country's National Center for Zoonotic Diseases (NCZD) said Saturday.
"The result of a polymerase chain reaction test revealed on Friday night that a 38-year-old man of Zavkhan's Tosontsengel soum was infected with the bubonic plague. The patient is now in critical condition," the NCZD said in a statement.
Tosontsengel soum has been placed under quarantine until the evening of Sept.11 as a result, the NCZD said.
The man was found to have eaten marmot meat, the NCZD said, also urging the public to avoid eating the meat.
Up to 17 of all 21 provinces in Mongolia are now at risk of bubonic plague, according to the NCZD.
Although hunting marmots is illegal in Mongolia, many Mongolians regard the rodent as a delicacy.
A total of 18 suspected cases of bubonic plague have been reported across the country so far this year, with five confirmed by laboratory test results.
A 42-year-old man died of the bubonic plague in Khovd province in western Mongolia last month, while a 15-year-old boy died of the plague in the western Govi-Altai province in mid-July.
The bubonic plague is a bacterial disease that spreads by fleas living on wild rodents such as marmots and can kill an adult in less than 24 hours if not treated in time, according to the World Health Organization. Enditem