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Couple die in Mongolia of bubonic plague after eating raw marmot

Two people have died after eating raw marmot meat (Picture: PA)

A couple have died in Mongolia from bubonic plague after eating raw marmot.

The deaths of the Mongolian couple led to a quarantine that left tourists stranded for days.

The pair had eaten raw marmot meat and kidney and a six-day quarantine was imposed on May 1 following their deaths in Mongolia’s wester Bayan Olgii province bordering China and Russia.

The plague was responsible for millions of deaths in Europe and Asia in the 14th century.

Cases are very rare today but can be deadly unless sufferers are treated with antibiotics.

The couple had eaten the meat of the marmot, a type of rodent, as it was thought to be a remedy for good health, it was reported.

The quarantine has now been lifted, allowing tourists to leave the area.

Marmots are a known carrier of the plague bacteria and hunting them is illegal.

"After the quarantine not many people, even locals, were in the streets for fear of catching the disease," Sebastian Pique, a US Peace Corps volunteer, told the AFP news agency.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) said 118 people had come into contact with the couple and had to be isolated and administered antibiotics.

It was reported that dozens of tourists from Russia, Germany and the US were unable to leave the area for a period because of the quarantine.

The plague is usually transmitted from animals to humans via fleas and has a 30% to 60% fatality rate if left untreated.

A quarantine was imposed in Mongolia after two people died after eating marmot (Picture: Getty)

Between 1989 and 1997 there were 69 cases in Mongolia and 22 deaths, said the WHO.

There have been 12 recorded deaths from the plague in the US since 2000.

Parts of Yosemite National Park had to be shut in 2015 because of a plague outbreak.

In the 14th century, the Black Death led to about 50 million deaths in Africa, Asia and Europe.

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