ULAN BATOR, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- A suspected case of bubonic plague in western Mongolia's Khovd province has been confirmed by lab test results, the country's National Center for Zoonotic Diseases (NCZD) said Sunday.
The 25-year-old female patient from the province and 19 people in close contact with her are now under isolation at a local hospital, the NCZD said in a statement.
The center said the woman was found to have eaten marmot meat last week.
While hunting marmots is illegal in Mongolia, many Mongolians regard the rodent as a delicacy and ignore the law.
Since the beginning of this year, the Asian country has reported 22 suspected cases, six of which were confirmed by laboratory tests. Three of the six patients have died.
Seventeen out of all the 21 Mongolian provinces are now at risk of the bubonic plague, the NCZD said, urging the public to avoid eating marmot meat.
The bubonic plague is a bacterial disease spread 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