A suspected outbreak of bubonic plague in China is not seen as high risk, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
On Monday, a health warning was issued in Inner Mongolia after a suspected case of bubonic plague was reported in the city of Bayannur.
The patient is a herdsman and was said to be in a stable condition and remains in quarantine, state media reported.
Authorities in the city issued a level three warning, the second-lowest in a four-tier alert system.
However, on Tuesday, the WHO said the apparent outbreak is not considered to represent a high risk.
"We are monitoring the outbreaks in China, we are watching that closely and in partnership with the Chinese authorities and Mongolian authorities," said WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris in Geneva, Switzerland.
"At the moment we are not considering it high-risk but we are watching it, monitoring it carefully.”
The suspected case followed four reported cases of plague in the same region last November, including two of pneumonic plague.
“Bubonic plague regularly occurs in Mongolia,” said Jimmy Whitworth, professor of international public health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
“It normally affects wild rodents and is spread by infected fleas. Humans occasionally get infected if they come into contact with the rodents – in this case marmots – or fleas.
“While plague causes severe illness, if it is recognised promptly then it can be easily treated with antibiotics and patients will make a full recovery.
“Because plague is a disease of wildlife, it is very difficult to eliminate it completely.”
Dr Michael Head, senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton, said: “Bubonic plague is a thoroughly unpleasant disease and this case will be of concern locally within Inner Mongolia.
“However, it is not going to become a global threat like we have seen with COVID-19. Bubonic plague is transmitted via the bite of infected fleas, and human to human transmission is very rare.”
Bubonic plague, one of the types of plague, causes swollen lymph nodes along with fever and coughing.
The alert in Inner Mongolia forbids the hunting and eating of animals that could carry the plague.
It also asks the public to report any suspected cases of plague or fever with no clear causes. The public have also been asked to report any sick or death marmots.
Between 2009 and 2018, China reported 26 cases of plague and 11 deaths.
The bubonic plague, known as the Black Death during the Middle Ages, is highly infectious and spread mostly by rodents.
The Black Death caused about 50 million deaths in Africa, Asia and Europe during the 14th century.