Mongolian police seize 29 dead marmots, suspect source of bubonic plague

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ULAN BATOR, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) — Police in northern Mongolia have seized 29 dead marmots from a vehicle, which could have spread the deadly bubonic plague, the country’s Ecological Police Department (EPD) said Monday.

The dead marmots were found on Sunday in a vehicle heading to the capital city of Ulan Bator from the northern Mongolian province of Khuvsgul, the EPD said in a statement.

The case is under investigation, it added.

While hunting marmots is illegal in Mongolia, many Mongolians ignore the law and regard rodents as delicacy.

Last year, the Asian country reported more than 20 suspected cases of the bubonic plague, around half of which were confirmed by laboratory tests. Three of the infected people died.

Out of all the 21 Mongolian provinces, 17 are at risk of the bubonic plague, according to the country’s National Center for Zoonotic Diseases.

The bubonic plague is a bacterial disease spread by fleas living on wild rodents such as marmots and can kill an adult within 24 hours if not treated in time. Enditem

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