Mongolian Couple Dies Of Bubonic Plague After Eating Raw Marmot Meat

You just don’t tend to hear about bubonic plague much these days. It doesn’t come up in conversation as often as it might have in, say, the 14th century. We as a people don’t seem to be wrestling with it as much anymore — although that’s not to say that it’s no longer around. Between 1000 and 2000 cases are reported to the World Health Organization every year. Last year Idaho had its first case of bubonic plague in 26 years. In an even more recent example: Last week a couple in Mongolia died of bubonic plague after eating raw marmot.

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As the BBC is reporting, a six-day quarantine was declared in the Mongolian province of Bayan Olgii following the deaths, with 118 people who had come in contact with the couple isolated and treated with antibiotics to prevent further spread of the disease.

A spokesperson for the WHO told the BBC that the couple had eaten raw marmot meat and kidney, which is taken as a folk remedy. According to SBS, authorities had warned against eating the meat because it could potentially be carrying the plague.

The marmot is a species of rodent in the squirrel family that is found extensively throughout Europe, Asia, and North America.