Black Death Plague: ‘Worst outbreak in 50 years’ is STILL spreading – 143 deaths confirmed

Wednesday, November 8, 2017
By Paul Martin

THE deadly plague outbreak in Madagascar has claimed even more lives and the number of reported cases has now reached almost 2,000, according to the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics.

Wed, Nov 8, 2017

The medieval airborne disease is still spreading and has prompted more fears in neighbouring countries that they could be hit with outbreaks.

Since August 1 there have been 1,947 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of plague in Madagascar and 143 people have died after contracting the disease.

Of the 1,947 cases, 1,437 were classified as pneumonic plague, 295 were bubonic plague, one was septicemic, and 211 were not yet classified. Further classification of cases is in process.

Officials say the number of reported pneumonic cases in Madagascar is slowly declining – although more cases of plague are expected as the country enters peak epidemic season, which lasts until April.

While most cases are recorded in Madagascar occur in remote areas, this outbreak has also hit major urban centres with high populations, including the capital Antananarivo and the port city of Tamatave, allowing it to spread faster.

Dr Tim Jagatic, a doctor with Medicins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), told about the cause of this year’s shocking outbreak.

He said: “From November until April, there tends to be an outbreak of an average of 400 cases of bubonic plague per year.

“But what happened this year is it looks like there was a case which happened a little bit earlier, in the month of August.

“If a bubonic case goes untreated, it has the ability to transform into the pneumonic form.

“It seems as though somebody who had the bubonic form didn’t get treatment, allowing the plague to transform into the pneumonic form.

“He entered the capital city and then fell sick on a bus that was travelling to Toamasina, and a medical student tried to help him.

“The medical student came into close contact with him and because it was the pneumonic form of the disease, happening earlier than its expected to in a part of the country where it typically doesn’t occur, it went unnoticed for a particular amount of time which allowed the disease to proliferate.”

Dr Jagatic added: “A very important part of epidemiology is trying to find who or what was ‘patient zero’, so that we’ll be able to track exactly how it spread, what dangers it poses, who was in contact with that person.

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