Pneumonic Plague Outbreak To Go Wide?

The death toll in the northwestern China town experiencing an outbreak of pneumonic plague now stands at three. Even more ominously: Residents are reporting that villagers are trying to flee.

Police have set up checkpoints around Ziketan in Qinghai province, a town of 10,000 people, which has been put under quarantine after at least a dozen people caught the lung infection which can kill within 24 hours if untreated.

Some people tried to leave the quarantined area Monday evening, mostly by foot, after the third death was reported, two residents reached by The Associated Press said. Most of the town’s residents are Tibetan herders of yaks, sheep and pigs.

“A lot of people ran off last night when they heard that another person died of this plague. They are mostly from other provinces,” said a food seller surnamed Han who runs a stall at the Crystal Alley Market. “They headed back home with food, water and their donkeys.”

You know what else they’re taking with them? PNEUMONIC PLAGUE.