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Two treated for deadly pneumonic plague in Beijing

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Two people in Beijing have been diagnosed with the pneumonic plague — a rare instance of the highly-contagious disease that is fatal if left untreated.

The two individuals were being treated at a central hospital in China’s capital city — home to over 21 million inhabitants — on Tuesday, local authorities said.

Pneumonic plague can prove fatal in 24 to 72 hours and is the “most virulent form of plague,” according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), while the bubonic form is less dangerous.

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The patients are from the northwestern Inner Mongolia province, district officials said in an online statement, adding that the “relevant prevention and control measures have been implemented.”

The Beijing government did not respond to AFP’s calls for comment, but the WHO confirmed that Chinese authorities had notified them about the plague cases.

“The (Chinese) National Health Commission are implementing efforts to contain and treat the identified cases, and increasing surveillance,” said Fabio Scano, coordinator at WHO China.

Scano told AFP that “the risk of transmission of the pulmonary plague is for close contacts and we understand that these are being screened and managed.”

According to the WHO website, the lung-based pneumonic plague is very contagious and “can trigger severe epidemics through person-to-person contact via droplets in the air.”

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Symptoms include fever, chills, vomiting and nausea.

On Weibo, a Twitter-like social media platform, Chinese censors scrubbed the hashtag “Beijing confirms it is treating plague cases” as they tried to control discussions — and panic — around the disease.

“I just want to know how these two came to Beijing??” posted one user. “By train, airplane, or did they drive themselves?”

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“Bird flu in the year of the rooster…swine fever in the year of the pig,” wrote another. “Next year is the year of the rat…the plague is coming.”

The plague germ Yersinia pestis can be transmitted to humans from infected rats via fleas.

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In 2014, a man died of the plague in northwestern Gansu province in China and sparked the quarantine of 151 people.

The 30,000 people living in Yumen, the town where the man died, were also prevented from leaving, with police at roadblocks placed on the town perimeter.

According to China’s National Health Commission, a total of five people have died from the plague between 2014 and September of this year.

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California lawmaker who chaired Republican Assembly caucus leaving GOP — to become an independent: report

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On Thursday, the Sacramento Bee reported that California Assemblyman Chad Mayes, the former Assembly Minority Leader, is leaving the Republican Party and registering as No Party Preference.

"Instead of focusing on solutions for the big problems that we've got, we focused on winning elections," said Mayes in his announcement. "For me, I'm at the point in my life where I'm done with gamesmanship."

Mayes, a controversial figure who was implicated in an affair with a fellow public official, represents Yucca Valley. He is the second Republican Assemblyman this year to leave the party, after Brian Maienschein of San Diego, who Maienschein of San Diego.

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‘Quantum physics generator’ incident in Ohio results in evacuation — hazmat found no radiation

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Authorities in Columbus, Ohio evacuated dozens of homes after a man called 911 to report being burned by a

"Firefighters say nothing threatening was found in a northwest Columbus garage," WCMH-TV reported. "According to firefighters, a man called and reported that he received ‘RF burns’ while building some sort of ‘quantum physics generator’ in a garage. The man used words like ‘particle accelerator,’ ‘alpha rays,’ and ‘radiation’ while describing how he was burned."

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Trump spoke with Giuliani on unsecured phones that were vulnerable to Russian surveillance: report

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On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump has communicated with his lawyer Rudy Giuliani via unsecured and unencrypted phone lines that are potentially vulnerable to interception and monitoring by Russian intelligence officials and other hostile foreign powers.

"Trump is not identified by name in the House phone records, but investigators said they suspect he may be a person with a blocked number listed as '-1' in the files," stated the report. "And administration officials said separately that Trump has communicated regularly with Giuliani on unsecured lines."

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