The death toll for an extremely deadly outbreak of the plague in Madagascar has just risen to 165, and experts fear that a global outbreak could be imminent.
The Daily Star reported that over 2,000 people have been infected by the plague, and officials at the World Health Organization are worried that there is a real risk the disease could spread to Europe, the US and across the globe. They are trying to stop the spread of this disease with a range of emergency measures being put in place to stop this from happening.
The disease, which can kill within 24 hours, is causing global panic due to it’s similarity with the outbreak of Black Death which killed off one third of medieval Europe, and that was a staggering 50 million people. The new disease is a more virulent form that spreads through coughing, sneezing or spitting and is almost always fatal if untreated.
A WHO spokesman said that although the growth in the number of cases is slowing down, they now fear a series of devastating “flare ups.”
“While the number of new cases and hospitalizations due to plague is declining in Madagascar, WHO cannot rule out the possibility of flare ups of additional cases until the typical plague season ends in April 2018, and thus recommends maintaining vigilance until then,” the spokesman said. “Based on available information and response measures implemented to date, the potential risk of further spread of plague at national level remains high.
“The risk of international spread is mitigated by the short incubation period of pneumonic plague, implementation of exit screening measures and advice to travelers to Madagascar, and scaling up of preparedness and operational readiness activities in neighbouring Indian Ocean islands and other southern and east African countries,” the official added.
The spokesman went on to say that although there is a risk, “the overall global risk is considered to be low.”
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.”
Please pray that this plague does not cause a global outbreak!