ULAN BATOR, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- Three suspected cases of bubonic plague have been reported in Mongolia's capital here, the country's National Center for Zoonotic Diseases (NCZD) said Monday.
The suspected cases are people who have recently eaten marmot meat in the eastern provinces of Khentii and Sukhbaatar, the NCZD said, adding that polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are now being conducted to confirm the diagnosis.
Although hunting marmots is illegal in Mongolia, many Mongolians regard the rodent as a delicacy and ignore the law.
On Aug. 8, one case of bubonic plague was confirmed in Ulan Bator, which is home to over half of the country's 3.4 million population.
Seventeen out of all the 21 Mongolian provinces are now at risk of the bubonic plague, according to the NCZD.
The bubonic plague is a bacterial disease that can be 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. ■