As I’ve already told you in my last article about the plague epidemic in Madagascar (Madagascar Plague Outbreak Escalates: 57 Dead, Almost 700 Infected), this time is different and today we have confirmation: there’s a black plague warning in no less than 9 countries, including holiday hotspots for westerners, amid concerns that plague may spread on flights from Madagascar.
Death may be coming to a town near you, as the deadly plague outbreak which hit Madagascar’s biggest cities has the potential to spread into the surrounding region via flight routes and sea trade. The current outbreak in Madagascar is especially dangerous due to the fact that pneumonic plague is airborne and it can be easily spread via coughing and sneezing. The World Health Organization has issued alerts for 9 countries surrounding Madagascar, where the outbreak begun. The death toll already hit 124 and more than 1300 people were infected.
Plague is famous for wiping out one third of Europe’s population in medieval times, being the most devastating pandemics in the history of mankind, also known as the Black Death. And according to epidemiologists, the plague epidemic in Madagascar did not reach its peak yet. There are fears that the deadly and highly contagious disease may spread into the region via regular flights going in and out of Madagascar by people having contracted the disease (its pneumonic form) while being still in the incubation period, which makes them highly contagious. According to a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Texas quoted by The Sun Online:
“Most of the cases in the past have been of the bubonic plague but if you look at this particular outbreak, 70 percent of the cases are pneumonic plague, which is the most deadly form of the disease. If the treatment is not given in a very short period of time these people will end up dying.”
Pneumonic plague spreads very rapidly as the number of infected people in Madagascar doubled within seven days. Plague symptoms include head and body aches, sudden fevers, nausea and vomiting. This is from the WHO report:
The risk of regional spread is moderate due to the occurrence of frequent travel by air and sea to neighbouring Indian Ocean islands and other southern and east African countries.”
“Nine countries and overseas territories have been identified as priority countries in the African region for plague preparedness and readiness by virtue of having trade and travel links to Madagascar.
“These countries and overseas territories include Comoros, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, La Réunion (France), Seychelles, South Africa, and Tanzania.”