The plague death toll in Madagascar has now reached 165, with over 2000 being infected, and concerns of a global outbreak have increased since the World Health Organisation’s latest update.
Officials at the world health body have now admitted there is a real risk the disease could spread to Europe, the US and across the globe, especially with people traveling over the holiday season, reported The Daily Star.
This disease, which can kill in as little as 24 hours, has sparked global concern as it continues throughout Madagascar.
The Black Death killed off one third of medieval Europe, around 50 million people. The current outbreak includes the bubonic plague as well as the pneumonic plague.
The pneumonic form spreads through coughing, sneezing or spitting and is almost always fatal if untreated.
A spokesman for the WHO said, although the growth in the number of cases is decreasing, they now fear a series of devastating “flare ups.”
The spokesman said: “While the number of new cases and hospitalizations due to plague is declining in Madagascar, WHO cannot rule out the possibility of flare ups of additional cases until the typical plague season ends in April 2018, and thus recommends maintaining vigilance until then.”
“Based on available information and response measures implemented to date, the potential risk of further spread of plague at national level remains high.”
“The risk of international spread is mitigated by the short incubation period of pneumonic plague, implementation of exit screening measures and advice to travelers to Madagascar, and scaling up of preparedness and operational readiness activities in neighboring Indian Ocean islands and other southern and east African countries.”
Admitting there is some risk of spreading globally, the spokesman added: “The overall global risk is considered to be low.”
The disease is currently concentrated in Madagascar’s two largest cities Antananarivo and Toamasina.
The diseases can be treated with antibiotics if caught quickly enough.
(Article By James Carter)