Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Health authorities in China have confirmed the country's third case of the plague, less than a month after two patients with a strain of the deadly disease were admitted to a hospital in Beijing.
The third patient, identified as a 55-year-old man, was from Xilingol League in Inner Mongolia, the same location where the first two patients had contracted the disease, South Korean television network KBS reported Monday.
The third patient became ill after eating a wild rabbit he had caught himself, according to Taiwan's Central News Agency.
The patient was diagnosed Sunday with the bubonic plague, one of three forms of plague caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. The bubonic plague typically results from the bite of an infected flea. Symptoms include fever, chills and one or more swollen, tender and painful lymph nodes.
Other forms of the plague include the septicemic plague and pneumonic plague. The first two officially confirmed cases were identified as pneumonic plague, in which symptoms include fever, shortness of breath and chest pain.
The two patients admitted to the hospital in Beijing in early November are a middle age married couple. The husband was ailing from a high fever, and his wife began to nurse him.
Prior to hospitalization, the third patient came into contact with 28 people. A person typically becomes ill with the plague two to six days after being infected. Someone exposed to the bacterium through the air can become ill within one to three days.
Neighboring countries are issuing alerts. Taiwan News reported Monday Taipei's Centers for Disease Control is warning travelers to exercise caution.
The Chinese government has blocked details about the patients. Taiwan's health ministry said fleas could transmit the plague to rodents before infecting other animals and humans.
Without treatment, the death rate of the plague can reach 30 to 60 percent, according to the report.