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Russia Bans Marmot Hunting and Eating to Prevent Bubonic Plague

by Eben Diskin Jul 7, 2020

After both China and Mongolia reported cases of the bubonic plague last week linked to people eating marmot meat, Russia’s Altai region is heightening measures to stop people from hunting and eating marmots.

The plague germ, Yersinia pestis, can be found in rodents and their fleas. Eating raw marmot meat is therefore discouraged.

As recently as Sunday, the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia issued a warning after a hospital reported a suspected case of the disease. Nearby in the Khovd province, two cases were reported linked to people eating marmot meat. Now, to prevent any cases in Russia, authorities have been patrolling the area to enforce the hunting ban, and warn people about the dangers of eating marmot meat, Reuters reported.

While the disease still exists around the world, it can often be treated by antibiotics, though deaths from it can still occur. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said, “In recent decades, an average of seven human plague cases have been reported each year [in the US]. Last year, a couple in Mongolia died of the plague after eating raw marmot kidney.”

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