Tag Archives: antibiotics

China Seals Off 30,000 People After A Man Dies of Bubonic Plague

The Chinese government has sealed off about 30,000 residents in parts of Yumen, a city in northeast China.

The move comes a week after a 38-year-old man died from the bubonic plague (also known as the black death). The man is said to have contracted the disease after coming in contact with a marmot- a rodent similar to the groundhog.

Residents have been told they cannot leave the area, and police have set up roadblocks to enforce that decree. Yumen has a population of 100,000 people, but only certain portions of the city have been isolated.

One of the police blockades

Besides the 30,000 people sealed off, the government has also put 151 people who had direct contact with the man under quarantine.

There is no word yet on how long the situation will last, but city officials have said they have enough rice, flour and oil to supply the 30,000 residents for a month.

China has sent in hundreds of extra “standby” medical workers to help contain the plague

Although the bubonic plague is rare in China, it is not totally unheard of. Since 2009, there have been an estimated 12 cases in China, with four deaths.

The plague can work extremely fast, sometimes killing a person within 24 hours of the initial infection. However, modern antibiotics have proven effective in treating the disease if it is detected quickly. Beijing officials say the chances of the outbreak spreading are low.

Check out the original story from the Daily Mail here.

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Did You Know… There’s A Rare Medical Condition That Gets People Drunk Off Bread and Pasta

Matthew Hogg is pretty much your average 34-year-old British guy. Except for one thing: eating bread or pasta has the same effect on him that pints of lager and ale have on his friends.

Hogg suffers from a rare condition known as auto-brewery syndrome. The condition causes the body to build up high levels of yeast in the intestines. As a result, carbohydrates are rapidly fermented into ethanol (pure alcohol) during digestion.

Matthew Hogg with his girlfriend (Photo: David Charlton/Caters News)

The result is that sufferers are constantly feeling varying levels of intoxication throughout the day, depending on what they eat (it’s almost impossible to completely avoid sugars and carbs all the time).

Though it may sound like a pretty sweet deal to people who enjoy getting drunk, Hogg says the reality is much more sobering (no pun intended). In a recent interview, Hogg told Vice News,

“It’s had a huge and devastating effect on my life.”

He is chronically fatigued, and often finds himself disoriented or unable to focus.

One of the biggest problems is that the condition is so rare and so strange that many people are often skeptical as to whether the condition is even real at all:

“I’m constantly reading messages from visitors to my website who suffer from the condition, saying their doctor, boss, co-workers, and even friends, family and partners, just don’t understand… People think we’re just making this condition up.”

Brewing yeast under a microscope. Click to enlarge

Yeast are bacteria that are used in a number of different cooking methods. Some types of yeast are used to make bread rise while others are used for fermentation during the alcohol brewing process. The bacteria is found in all types of other foods as well, from fruits and vegetables to milk and cheeses.

Usually, the brewing yeast Saccharomyces passes through the body along with the rest of your food’s components.

However, in some rare cases, like when a person’s immune system is depleted or after a person takes antibiotics (which can wipe out the natural digestive bacteria in your gut), this yeast is allowed to build up, leading to the auto-brewing effects described above.

Hogg’s condition made it hard for him to find a job, but he wasn’t going to give in to it. So, he created his own website, The Environmental Illness Resource, to help inform people about rare conditions like his own.

Well played, Matthew.

(h/t People and NPR)