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The World Health Organization say it can kill an adult in under 24 hours (Image: National Center for Zoonotic Diseases)

A city in the north of China has sounded an alert after a suspected case of bubonic plague was registered by officials.

The case was reported on Saturday by a hospital in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of Bayannur.

The northern city announced a 'level III warning of plague prevention and control'.

State-run People's Daily Online reported the alert, the second-lowest in a four-level system in operation in the country.

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According to the World Health Organization, the Bubonic plague - a bacterial disease that is spread by fleas living on wild rodents - can kill an adult in under 24 hours.

The local health authority announced that the warning period will continue until the end of 2020.

"At present, there is a risk of a human plague epidemic spreading in this city," a statement read.

"The public should improve its self-protection awareness and ability, and report abnormal health conditions promptly."

A couple died of bubonic plague in the western Mongolian province of Bayan-Ulgii after eating raw meat last year.

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The news of Bubonic plague comes quickly after concerned Chinese researchers issued a warning over another potential pandemic caused by an influenza virus in pigs.

Experts say it has "all the hallmarks" of being highly adapted to infect humans and needs close monitoring.

The virus - which the researchers have named G4 EA H1N1 - can grow and multiply in human cells.

Prof Kin-Chow Chang, who works at Nottingham University, told the BBC: "Right now we are distracted with coronavirus and rightly so.

"But we must not lose sight of potentially dangerous new viruses."

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While this new virus is not an immediate problem he says "we should not ignore it."

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