July 6 (UPI) -- Health officials in Inner Mongolia said Monday they suspect a case of bubonic plague in a man who's been hospitalized.
The new case was reported over the weekend in Bayannur in Inner Mongolia, health officials said. It wasn't immediately known how the herdsman became infected, but his condition was reported as stable.
"There is a risk of a human plague epidemic spreading in this city," local health officials said. "The public should improve its self-protection awareness and ability, and report abnormal health conditions promptly."
Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region between Mongolia and northeastern China.
Xinhua reported a potential case of bubonic plague in Bayan-Ulgii province, in the westernmost part of Mongolia that shares borders with China and Russia.
Authorities issued a heightened warning and asked residents to report ill and dead animals. The warning, which will last through the end of year, advises residents not to eat wild animals.
Bubonic plague is one of three forms of human plague and can cause severe fever and painful and swollen lymph nodes, and can kill an adult within 24 hours if not treated. The plague is typically spread through flea bites or infected animals, often rodents.
Mongolia reported four cases of bubonic plague last year, including two who died.
The deadliest plague in history, called the "Black Death," killed as many as 200 million people during the 14th century in Eurasia and North Africa. A pandemic in 1911 killed 63,000 people in northeast China.