Thousands of Russians are being given emergency vaccinations against the bubonic plague after a boy contracted the deadly infectious disease while skinning a marmot, reports Daily Mail.
Vaccine is being rushed to remote Kosh-Agach in the Altai Mountains in a bid to stop a full scale outbreak of the Black Death infection.
The ten-year-old boy was helping his grandfather on a hunting expedition when he caught the plague while skinning the rodent.
The unnamed child cut himself with the knife he was using, and is now fighting for his life in intensive care with a high fever.
On Thursday he was in a 'serious but stable' condition.
The Russian authorities have taken all 17 people with whom he had contact into quarantine.
Six of this 'at risk' group are children.
At least 4,000 residents in the region will be urgently vaccinated as a precaution, said reports.
Emergency vaccine for at least 15,000 people was ordered and has started arriving in the region in southern Siberia.
A total of 6,192 people in this district had been vaccinated prior to the outbreak in what is considered a high risk locality.
Marmot hunting is banned here because of the threat of the plague, but the restrictions are widely ignored.
Marmot furs are sold as a cheap substitute for sable, and the animal is known to carry the disease, reported The Siberian Times.
According to the World Health Organisation, more than 13,000 people contracted bubonic plague in Asia, Africa and America between 2004 and 2013. Roughly 900 of them died from the disease.
Bubonic plague was the cause of the Black Death that swept through Asia, Europe, and Africa in the 14th century, killing an estimated 50 million people.