Deadly plague epidemic in Madagascar is now at ‘crisis’ point and could reach mainland Africa where it will be ‘difficult to control’, warns expert as World Bank releases $5M of aid

Friday, November 3, 2017
By Paul Martin

Cases of the plague have spiraled by 37 per cent in less than a week, data shows
The World Health Organization now states that there are 1,801 suspected cases
At least 127 deaths have been recorded, but experts warn this could also rocket
The ‘unprecedented’ outbreak has prompted warnings in nine nearby countries
World Bank released an extra $5 million (£3.8m) to control the deadly outbreak

3 November 2017

The deadly plague epidemic that has rocked the island of Madagascar could reach mainland Africa, a respected disease expert has warned.

The outbreak, which has been described the worst in 50 years’ and has now reached ‘crisis’ point, has prompted World Health Organization officials to place nine African countries on high alert.

South Africa, Seychelles, La Reunion, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Comoros and Mauritius have all been told to brace for potential cases in the coming weeks.

Today Paul Hunter, professor of health protection at the world-renowned University of East Anglia, is the first expert to predict it could reach mainland Africa.

Speaking to MailOnline exclusively, he said: ‘The big anxiety is that it could spread to mainland Africa, it’s not probable, but certainly possible, that might then be difficult to control.’

‘If we don’t carry on doing stuff here, at one point something will happen and it will get out of hand control cause huge devastation all around the world.’

An analysis of plague cases by this website has revealed they have spiraled by nearly 40 per cent in less than week, with figures showing that at least 1,800 are now infected with the ‘medieval disease’ which has claimed 127 lives. The epidemic could strike a further 20,000 people in just a matter of weeks if current trends continue.

Earlier today, amid concerns the plague had reached crisis points, the World Bank released an extra $5 million (£3.8m) to control the deadly outbreak. The money will allow for the deployment of personnel to battle the outbreak in the affected regions, the disinfection of buildings and fuel for ambulances.

Two thirds of cases have been caused by the airborne pneumonic plague, which can be spread through coughing, sneezing or spitting and kill within 24 hours.

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