Authorities in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia are on high alert after a suspected case of bubonic plague, the disease that caused the Black Death pandemic, was reported Sunday.The case was discovered in the city of Bayannur, located northwest of Beijing, according to state-run Xinhua news agency. ‘

A hospital alerted municipal authorities of the patient’s case on Saturday. By Sunday, local authorities had issued a citywide Level 3 warning for plague prevention, the second lowest in a four-level system. The warning will stay in place until the end of the year, according to Xinhua.

Plague, caused by bacteria and transmitted through flea bites and infected animals, is one of the deadliest bacterial infections in human history. During the Black Death in the Middle Ages, it killed an estimated 50 million people in Europe. Modern antibiotics can prevent complications and death if administered quickly enough. 

Bubonic plague, which is one of plague’s three forms, causes painful, swollen lymph nodes, as well as fever, chills, and coughing. Bayannur health authorities are now urging people to take extra precautions to minimize the risk of human-to-human transmission, and to avoid hunting or eating animals that could cause infection.

SOURCE: CNN