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Dangerous epidemic: According to the WHO, plague could spread further
The plague is one of the most devastating epidemics in human history. Especially in the Middle Ages, the "Black Death" claimed millions of lives. Even today, epidemics continue to occur in some regions. The World Health Organization (WHO) is now warning that the plague currently occurring in Madagascar could spread further.
Pest could spread from Madagascar
The dangerous infectious disease plague has been with mankind for millennia and has repeatedly led to devastating epidemics with millions of deaths in the past. Even today there are cases of illness in some regions. The plague is currently occurring in Madagascar. The World Health Organization (WHO) is now warning that the disease could spread from there to other countries in the region.
Disease can now be treated with antibiotics
The plague is a highly contagious bacterial infectious disease. The most common form is bubonic plague, which is associated with fever, headache, body aches and inflammation of the lymph nodes in the groin area.
In the Middle Ages, millions of people died from the so-called "black death". Nowadays, the disease can be treated with antibiotics. Still, people still die from it.
According to the WHO, there were 3,248 cases worldwide between 2010 and 2015, including 584 deaths. "The currently three most endemic countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar and Peru," the organization writes on its website.
Epidemic season has just started
Dr. Charlotte Ndiaye, WHO representative in Madagascar, said in a statement on the situation in her country: “WHO is concerned that the plague could spread because it is already present in several cities and is now the beginning of the epidemic season which usually lasts from September to April. "
In addition, because of the numerous flight connections, there is a risk that the highly contagious disease will also reach the neighboring islands in the Indian Ocean, said WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier, according to a message from the AFP news agency.
However, the danger is only “moderately high”. The WHO therefore does not issue a travel warning. The expert rated the risk of spreading beyond the region as "low".
Poor health care and poor hygiene
There are plague waves in Madagascar every year. The disease is usually transmitted by rats. Experts blame poor hygiene and poor health care for the recurrent plague cases on the island.
According to the AFP report, 133 people have been infected since a new outbreak in early August, 24 of them have since died.
It is said to be particularly dangerous this year that cases of bubonic and less common lung plague occur at the same time. This is transmitted from person to person and, if left untreated, can kill those affected within 24 hours.
To make matters worse, the plague has now reached larger locations, including the capital Antananarivo. (ad)