Black death: Plague outbreak leaves 57 dead & hundreds infected as disease SPREADS FURTHER

Tuesday, October 17, 2017
By Paul Martin

AT LEAST 57 people have now died from a plague outbreak in the past three months, with the speed and timing of the deadly disease taking health officials by surprise.

Tue, Oct 17, 2017

Latest figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO) have recorded 684 plague cases in Madagascar since August 1.

WHO has already delivered nearly 1.2 million doses of antibiotics and released £1.13million in emergency funds to fight the killer infection, but is currently revising its assessment on the risk of the disease spreading overseas.

One of the victims was a man from the Seychelles who was visiting the island nation for a basketball tournament, and health officials are carrying out an investigation to determine who the victim had been in recent contact with.

Although plague is endemic to areas of Madagscar, the traditional “plague season” has started early this year and caught doctors and health experts off guard.

On average, about 400 cases are recorded in Madagascar annually, with most occurring between September and April.

A WHO official said: “The risk of the disease spreading is high at national level because it is present in several towns and this is just the start of the outbreak.”

The most common form of the disease is the bubonic plague, better known as the Black Death, which killed up to 200 million people across Eurasia and Europe in the 14th century.

But this year there has been an unusually high number of cases – 474 – of pneumonic plague, the deadliest of the three plagues caused by the presence of the yersinia pestis bacteria.

Pneumonic plague, a lung infection, is more easily transferred from person to person through coughing. If untreated, the disease is 100 per cent fatal.

Its incubation period is also extremely short – a person can die within die within 24 hours of contracting the infection.

There have also been 156 cases of bubonic and one septicemic plague this year so far. A further 54 plague cases were unspecified.

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