Experts are warning that a deadly strain of the plague that has already killed over 140 people in Madagascar and infected over 2,000 could mutate and become untreatable.
Daily Mail reported that there are fears that the disease could spread to Europe and the United States through plane travel just as Ebola did in 2014. Professor Paul Hunter warned that though it would be easy for an advanced country to contain the disease in its current form, he fears that it could evolve into something far more dangerous.
“If it reaches the UK, Europe or the US it would be similar to the Ebola outbreak,” said Hunter, who is a disease expert at the University of East Anglia. “We would have a few isolated cases but it shouldn’t spread like it has in Madagascar. As with any disease, it’s a real worry that it mutates and become untreatable.”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that this outbreak has been going on for six months. Hunter warned that if the plague reaches Africa and travels around the uncivilized locations, then it’s no telling what could happen.
“The big anxiety is it could spread to mainland Africa, it’s not probable, but certainly possible, that might then be difficult to control,” Hunter said. “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.”
Professor Jimmy Whitworth, another health expert, described the current outbreak as the “worst in 50 years or more.”
The last major outbreak of the H1N1 flu occurred in 1918 and killed a reported 50-100 million people, which is about 3% of the entire population of the planet.
“Plague is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis, a zoonotic bacteria, usually found in small mammals and their fleas. It is transmitted between animals through fleas,” the WHO website states. “Humans can be infected through: the bite of infected vector fleas, unprotected contact with infectious bodily fluids or contaminated materials, the inhalation of respiratory droplets/small particles from a patient with pneumonic plague.”
This comes after the U.K. Express reported that the rare and highly fatal virus has broken out in eastern Uganda and five cases have already been identified. Known as Marburg virus disease (MVD), the disease is similar to Ebola and is lethal in 90% of cases.
Health workers have rushed in to try and stop the deadly Marburg outbreak from devastating communities in the rural region.
“Community engagement is the cornerstone of emergency response,” said Dr Zabulon Yoti, Technical Coordinator for Emergencies at the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa. He went on to health officials to “work with the communities to build their capacity for success and sustainability” and develop a better understanding of the local customs and traditions.
What do you think about this? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.