Three deaths from the bubonic plague have been reported in Mongolia this year. It also follows two August deaths in China’s Inner Mongolia region, which nears the border between the two countries. Chinese authorities have imposed partial lockdowns and quarantined residents over the resurgent plague.
Local authorities in Mongolia’s western Zavkhan province reported a man, 38, died from the plague after eating marmot meat, according to Chinese state media Xinhua.
Following the infection, 25 people who were in close proximity to the man tested negative for the plague.
Mongolian authorities have warned at least 17 out 21 provinces in the country are at risk from bubonic plague.
Fears have been raised in neighbouring Chinese provinces that the plague could spread across the border.
READ MORE: China bubonic plague spreads: 17 provinces now infected after alarming new cases
Five people have been confirmed as infected with the bubonic plague in Mongolia this year, with three dying.
But the country’s health ministry said there could be as many as 18 cases in Mongolia so far this year
The first death came in July, where a 15-year-old boy in the western Govi-Altai province contracted the plague.
A 42-year-old man also died from the plague in Khovd, Western Mongolia, last month.
Baotou officials then ordered the city to enter a warning period, which will last until the end of the year.
China’s government admitted Baotou faced a potential epidemic of the bubonic and enteric plagues due to the deaths.
The last major known outbreak of the disease in China was in 2009.
That year, several people died in the town of Ziketan in Qinghai province on the Tibetan Plateau
Mongolian police have also seized 133 dead marmots this year over the risk of the corpses spreading the plague.
On Tuesday, the country’s State Professional Inspection Agency confirmed they seized dead marmots after they were found in vehicles heading to Ulan Bator.
The agency added: “Some people have been attempting to bring dead marmots illegally into the capital city.
“Relevant officials of the country such as police officers and inspectors are working around the clock at all checkpoints on the outskirts of the city to prevent the spread of bubonic plague.”
Marmots are illegal to eat in Mongolia due to their potential to infect people with the plague, but the animals are also considered delicacies in the country.