A deadly disease outbreak in Madagascar has people all over the globe fearing for their lives.
Freedom Daily reported that so far, 143 people have died and over 2,000 people have been infected by a deadly airborne strain of the “medieval disease” that wreaked havoc on Europe hundreds of years ago. The airborne pneumonic plague can be spread by coughing, sneezing and spitting and can kill people just 24 hours after they are infected.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that this outbreak has been going on for six months. Emergency disease outbreak expert Professor Paul 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.
Officials believe the outbreak started in September, when a man in his 30s, who worked as a game hunter and lived near a cave with a heavy presence of bats, was admitted to a local health centre with a high fever, vomiting and diarrhoea. He did not respond to antimalarial treatment and his condition rapidly deteriorated before he eventually died.
The man’s sister, who was in her 50s, died shortly afterwards and a third victim passed away in the treatment unit of a local health center.
“Marburg virus disease is a rare disease with a high mortality rate for which there is no specific treatment,” the World Health Organisation (WHO) website states. “The virus is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected persons or wild animals (e.g. monkeys and fruit bats).”
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