WATCH: Number of suspected cases of bubonic plague in Ontario remains high https://t.co/iOENZ0ae67 pic.twitter.com/FqZ0MXsSHO — Global News Toronto (@globalnewsto) June 25, 2016
There are now more than 700 suspected cases of bubonic plague in Ontario, including cases that have spread from two neighboring counties. Last week, the province told residents to stay indoors, cautioning the high number of reported cases meant there was a chance of infection. Ontario’s Liberal government has had to endure calls to resign for its handling of a crisis that began earlier this month. The province has since warned the numbers of confirmed cases is expected to increase. Inspectors found 200 decaying rodents in the areas where illnesses were reported.
Bubonic plague is a disease that has killed thousands during previous epidemics. Fortunately, people usually recover with medication. It can be contracted through a bite from an infected flea or by ingesting bacterial bacteria from infected pet rats, mice, rats, or ferrets. Currently, patients who contract the disease do not need to be hospitalized. The deadly condition can be fatal without treatment, though there are treatments to cure it.
But the high number of cases in Ontario is raising concerns about the risk of contagion and the circumstances surrounding it. Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins apologized to residents for being ill-prepared to deal with the pandemic, according to the Toronto Star. Gov. Gen. David Johnston criticized the government for a “poor response” to the outbreak, telling the Toronto Sun there is a need for a heightened response to such an emergency. The province is bringing in specialized expert teams in toxicology, epidemiology, and disease. The Ontario government is asking residents to be more vigilant about any rodent bites.
The province has not formally admitted a fungal infection at this time.