Black Death Plague latest: Holidaymakers will now be screened at airports – tourist update

Monday, November 6, 2017
By Paul Martin

Madagascar is currently facing the worst outbreak of plague in 50 years and travellers are being advised to continue following measures to reduce the risk of ‘black death’ spreading.

Mon, Nov 6, 2017

More than 1,300 cases have been reported in Madagascar since the start of the outbreak.

Last week, the World Health Organisation figures showed two thirds of those with the plague are suspected to be pneumonic, which is described as the “deadliest and most rapid from of plague”.

Addressing media, Professor Lucille Blumberg, South African National Institute of Communicable Diseases Deputy Director said, “the plague is being controlled and interventions seem to be working”.

To avoid the disease spreading a number of measures have been put in place, including travellers undergoing exit screening at Madagascar airport.

According to Tourism Update, there have been no plague cases reported in South Africa.

But measures are in place there too to reduce the risks.

Professor Blumberg added: “Together with the exit screening at the Madagascar airport, we have entry screening in South Africa where we can test for temperatures.”

Guidelines on clinical presentation of plague and when to suspect it or to test for it have been made available.

Pneumonic plague can spread through coughing, and can kill within 24 hours.

Madagascar sees regular outbreaks of the disease, but this current outbreak has caused alarm due to the speed with which it has spread and a high number of fatalities.

The Foreign Commonwealth Office issued the following advice on its website: “There is currently an outbreak of pneumonic and bubonic plague in Madagascar; outbreaks of plague tend to be seasonal and occur mainly during the rainy season, with around 500 cases reported annually; whilst outbreaks are not uncommon in rural areas, the latest outbreak has seen an increase in reported cases in urban areas, including Antananarivo.”

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