Ziketan with a Z

Nice to see others are having uncomfortable wake-ups as well (first morning back to work for me): in the city of Ziketan, in China, there’s been an outbreak of plague.


(I shall not say “What year was this again?” since the inevitable answer would be “Er, Ox? Wait a minute. Boar, Rat, Cup Noodle… what comes after the Year of the Cup Noodle?”)

Pneumonic plague to be exact; not that that sounds any better. I’ve had pneumonia myself, though without the plague, and that was the crappiest week-and-a-half of my life. I remember I read Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The House of the Seven Gables, but I have absolutely no memory of anything between the covers. Not particularly smart reading a book whose “primary interest […] is in the subtle and involved descriptions of character and motive”, not when having the fever of your life, but by some perverse miscoincidence the library was being renovated. (For some reason that memory cheers me up; either that or the caffeine is finally kicking in. Anyway, the Pn event came when in the army — a few months after each new batch of people in there’s usually some darling little disease that overcrowds the infirmary for a bit.)

Anyway, back to China. And a variety of pneumonia you don’t walk away from, or if you do, you won’t be quite the same.

Apparently pneumonic plague is one of the three ways this bacteria called yersinia pestis (“plague”) can manifest. The other two are the bubonic and the septicemic plagues. That first is the Black Death, a name that should scream “Wet pants, run, hide!” even if you’ve never heard it before; and the second, well, I don’t know anything about medicine, but I have a hypothesis that nothing starting with “septic” is in any way nice. Apparently pneumonic goes to the lungs, bubonic goes to skin, septicemic goes to blood. Regardless of the case things go to shit pretty quickly. Especially since pneumonic plague doesn’t use vectors; it’s infectious from person to person.

Ziketan has been closed off; the dead count stands at two at the moment. No more information at the moment. This sort of a thing apparently happens in China.

Now, what does this remind me of? Oh yeah. And with that happy thought back to work.

PS. Finnish news tells the Chinese government is “disinfecting” the city; for some reason my immediate reaction was “Er, nice choice of a word; doesn’t sound at all like a circumlocution for shooting then burning everything that moves.”

One Response to “Ziketan with a Z”

  1. Bob O'Hara Says:

    There’s plague in the US as well: it’s carried by prairie dogs, and other rodents. We sent a Swede over to investigate, and he’s now quarantined in Uppsala.

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