Wednesday, 22 November, 2017

Aid group says Madagascar plague outbreak yet to reach peak

Black Death plague outbreak GETTYBlack Death plague has killed at least 124 people as health officials warn outbreak is spreading
Carol Daniels | 27 October, 2017, 00:58

Madagascar has suffered plague outbreaks nearly every year since 1980 - typically between September and April - and are often sparked by rats fleeing forest fires.

What exactly is the Black Death?

The bubonic plague -which is the most common - can be transmitted through being bitten by fleas as well exposure to rodents.

"Septicaemic plague occurs when infection spreads through the bloodstream Septicaemic plague may result from flea bites and from direct contact with infective materials through cracks in the skin". However, a person with secondary pneumonic plague may form aerosolized infective droplets and transmit plague via droplets to other humans. This year's outbreak is unusual because for the first time the disease has affected the Indian Ocean island's two biggest cities, Antananarivo and Toamasina.

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"Some of the neighbouring countries, namely Comoros, Mauritius and South Africa, have put in place measures to protect their population, including entry screening, information provision to passengers on how to seek medical care in case of symptoms, and other preparedness measures", the report stated.

Sufferers are likely to have painful lymph nodes, chills, fever, headaches, weakness and fatigue. At advanced stages of the infection the inflamed lymph nodes can turn into open sores filled with pus.

Strong trade links with Madagascar have been cited as one of the reasons putting South Africa at risk of an outbreak which has infected over a thousand people in the island nation. About 10 percent of bubonic plague cases develop to become pneumonic. If the bubonic plague goes untreated, the bacteria can spread to the lungs, causing pneumonic plague. Currently, pneumonic plague is the most popular and the most unsafe.

The deadly plague has a high mortality rate with 30-100% of death within 72 hours if not treated. Thankfully we now know enough about the plague and how it spreads to prevent those types of widespread events from happening, but that doesn't mean it can't still cause some very serious damage. Treatment centers run by the Red Cross as well as the World Health Organization have been effective in dealing with the bulk of the cases, the death toll remains much larger than anyone would like.

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