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4th plague patient near death in NW China province
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Another pneumonic plague patient is near death and one is in serious condition in the town of Ziketan, in Xinghai county in the Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, health authorities said Tuesday. The prefecture is located in northwestern China's Qinghai Province.

The disease has already killed three villagers.

The outbreak began July 30 and made 12 people in the town ill.

Seven patients in quarantine are in stable condition.

There has been no report of new infections.

Medical staff are disinfecting the region and tracking down people who have been in close contact with those affected by the plague

The local government has quarantined the town and its vicinity. The area has adequate essential supplies and the quarantine has not disrupted the locals' lives.

Those who have been in Ziketan and its vicinity since July 16 who show symptoms of fever and coughing have been ordered to report to the nearest hospital.

Local authorities have handed out more than 40,000 leaflets and disks on plague prevention along with other efforts to allay residents' fears.

The town covers 3,000 square kilometers and has a population of 10,000.

Pneumonic plague is one of the world's deadliest infectious diseases; patients can die 24 hours after infection, says the World Health Organization.

(Xinhua News Agency August 5, 2009)

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