Plague outbreak reported in Tibet

A health alert has been issued in the southwestern region of Tibet in China following the diagnosis of plague in five people.

The outbreak was detected on Thursday in Latok Village in Tibet's Nyingchi Prefecture, AFP reports. Pneumonic plague is spread by rodents, including marmots, which are numerous in Tibet.

One of the five infected died from a severe lung infection that was attributed to the pneumonic plague, AFP reports, while the other four infected remain in critical condition, according to the Tibet health department.

The remaining four infected people, who all had contact with the deceased, have been quarantined.

To fight further infections, disease control experts have been sent to the affected area to attempt to fight the spread of the disease.

Additionally, a warning has been issued to those who have visited the region near the outbreak. That warning calls for immediate medical attention if a fever, cough or other flu-like symptom develops.

Last year, a plague outbreak in the Tibetan town of Ziektan in the neighboring Qinhai province resulted in the deaths of three people, AFP reports.

The World Health Organization calls the pneumonic plague the most virulent but least common form of plague. Its mortality rate is high, but immediate antibiotic treatment can be effective.