July 15 (UPI) -- A teenager died of the bubonic plague in western Mongolia after eating an infected marmot, a sign the disease may be spreading after reports of it emerged earlier this month.
Mongolia's health ministry representative Dorj Narangerel said the boy, 15, was confirmed to have the plague.
"The result of a polymerase chain reaction test revealed on Monday night that bubonic plague caused the death of a 15-year-old boy," Narangerel said in a news conference.
Narangeral said about 15 other people are now under quarantine and taking antibiotics after coming in a contact with the boy. Narangeral said two other teenagers who ate the marmot are also being treated. The Mongolia government instituted a quarantine in an area of the Gobi-Altai province where the cases happened.
Last week, health officials in China's Inner Mongolia said they suspected a herdsman contracted the bubonic plague and was hospitalized in stable condition.
The plague has been found in marmots, large rodents that live in burrows in the Asian grassland along with other wild animals in Mongolia, northwestern China and eastern Russia. Mongolia has issued emergency warnings not to eat marmot or any wild animals in the region.
Mongolia imposed a six-day quarantine in its westernmost province of Bayan-Ulgii last year after an ethnic Kazakh couple died from the plague after eating raw marmot.