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David Gaybba
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'Black Death' is spreading fast in Madagascar – what's the risk to Africa?

10 October 2017, 09:23

The dreadful “Black Death” plague that killed 200million+ in the Medieval time across Eurasia is back!

The plague has hit Madagascar every year in remote villages infecting up to 400 per year and killing 40 people in 2014. Most common form is the Bubonic plague that is transferred from rodents, to fleas, to humans, it is not transferred from human to human.

Only 2% of fatalities over the past years of outbreak can be contributed to the most severe strain Pneumonic plague! This year is different, Madagascar is currently experiencing a much earlier outbreak of plague and between 60 – 70% of infections are from the most aggressive Pneumonic Plague.

This is “air borne” and transferred from human to human by sneeze, cough etc. What makes this outbreak even more severe is, it is affecting all major cities and port cities, drastically increasing the chances of national outbreak.

The WHO has put out a statement that the chance of national spread is “high”, regional “moderate” and international “low”.

They have also distributed millions of antibiotics to treat the symptoms and reduce fatality rate. There is no “preventative cure” available for Pneumonic Plague available but yet the WHO decided to keep borders open and no restriction on air and sea travel.    

Risk to South Africa and the rest of Africa:

Knowing that there is no prevention for the Pneumonic Plague, one would think that more serious steps would be taken before this becomes a regional crisis? Infections are reported in port cities and it is reported a South African Basketball official also contracted the plague in Madagascar. Yet no warning signs for South Africa…

The death toll has risen from 24 on Thursday/Friday to 42 on Sunday 08 October 2017, clearly showing no sign it is under control. Yet people fly and ferry in and out of Madagascar to Reunion and Mauritius every day! Only Seychelles has stopped flights to and from Madagascar. With a disease that killed half the world’s population in the past and can kill between 18 and 24 hours from the onset, we should not be complacent! I would strongly urge a response to this crisis by stopping flights and trade to the region! Travel to the region should also be suspended until its proven to be under control. Pneumonic Plague is nothing like Ebola that is not “air borne” and only spread through direct contact. The 20th century world has seen nothing like this before and yet we panicked over Ebola.

The WHO has announced the distribution of 1,2 million dosages of antibiotics to treat the symptoms and reduce fatalities! This is brilliant but it is somehow portrayed as the “preventative cure” by the media! Antibiotics are only effective at the earliest onset stage of Pneumonic Plague but is in no means a cure to prevent further spread. I truly hope this is taken into consideration by South African authorities! None of us would like to see this in South Africa with our fast land area, populated cities and remote villages…

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.


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