NEWS

Risk Of 'Black Plague' Spreading Very Low -- WHO

The WHO says no new cases have been reported in Madagascar since October.

16/11/2017 06:39 SAST | Updated 16/11/2017 08:21 SAST
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There have been no new cases of the so called black plague in Madagascar since October 28, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), The Times reported.

South Africa was placed on high alert following the outbreak of the plague in Madagascar in October, along with eight other countries. This was due to South Africa's trade and travel links with that country.

About 1,133 people were infected with the disease, and 124 people had died at that time. Now, about 1,801 people are thought to have been infected.

According to the WHO, depending on the type of the plague, bubonic or pneumonic, the disease can kill within 72 hours of infection if left untreated. While the plague killed about 50-million people during a pandemic in Europe in the 14th century, it is now easily preventable and treatable with antibiotics.

The Guardian reported that the first case in Madagascar was a 31-year-old man who presented with Malaria-like symptoms. The disease is common in Madagascar, but this was the first time that it had spread to urban areas, increasing the risk of transmission.

The WHO delivered 1.2-million doses of antibiotics to the country.

Lucille Blumberg, a consultant at the SA National Institute for Communicable Diseases told TimesLive that people leaving the Madagascan airport were screened. No cases outside of Madagascar have been reported.

The WHO reportedly said, the "last confirmed bubonic case was reported on 24 October and the last confirmed pneumonic case was reported on 28 October. This means the epidemic phase of outbreak is ending. Since plague is endemic to parts of Madagascar‚ WHO expects more cases to be reported until the end of the typical plague season in April 2018".