The city of Yumen has been sealed off after a man died of bubonic plague last week
The city of Yumen has been sealed off after a man died of bubonic plague last week Reuters

The Chinese city of Yumen in the Gansu province has been sealed off after a 38-year-old man died of bubonic plague.

The 30,000 residents of the city are not allowed to leave and police roadblocks have been set up around the perimeter, as China considers the plague to be one of the most serious infectious diseases, according to reports from AFP.

A report by state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) stated that a man died last Wednesday are coming into contact with a dead marmot (a small furry animal related to a squirrel).

It is believed the man took the dead animal home and chopped it up to feed his dog but developed a fever the same day. He was only hospitalised after his condition worsened and he later died.

An additional 151 people have been placed in quarantine due to the fact the man may have made contact with other people before and during when he was hospitialised.

"The city has enough rice, flour and oil to supply all its residents for up to one month," CCTV said in its report.

"Local residents and those in quarantine are all in stable condition."

Bubonic plague, also known as the "Black Death", is a highly contagious bacterial infection that killed 25 million people in the 14th century.

It can be cured using antibiotics but, if not promptly treated, the disease can cause severe illness and even death.

Most recently, 52 people died from the plague in India during an outbreak in 1994.

Due to widespread panic from the media exaggerating the death toll and confusing bubonic plague with its more deadly relative, pneumonic plague, people fled the city of Surat and the plague spread to five Indian states.

In March, scientists from Public Health England concluded that the Black Death was not spread by rat fleas, but by humans.