The World Health Organization has announced an outbreak of the bubonic plague in Madagascar. According to the report, 119 people have contracted the disease, and 40 have died so far.
The Bubonic plague, which is a bacterial disease that is carried by rats and passed on to humans through flea bites, is also known as the Black Death, which appeared in 1347 and wiped out a third of the world’s population. It first broke out in China, and then spread through Italy and the rest of Europe. However, studies indicate that the bubonic plague originated in Mongolia, and records show that there was in fact a large outbreak in 1330.
Today, if it is caught early enough, the disease can be treated through the use of antibiotics. The WHO said that there is a risk of a “rapid spread” of the disease in the Madagascan capital of Antananarivo, and the risk has been increased by the widespread resistance of the frequently used insecticide – deltamethrin. Thus far, Gianfrancesco Genoso reports that cases have been reported in 16 different districts spread throughout seven regions, with two reported ill and one dead in Antananarivo. The WHO stated that two percent of infected Madagascans are carrying the pneumatic form of the disease, which is much more dangerous as it can be transmitted through coughing.
Countries like Madagascar have been known to be at risk for such an outbreak, and those in the rat-infested prisons are said to be at the highest risk, according to a report by BBC.
Surely if the disease continues to spread, travel limitations and quarantines will be instituted, as they were with the Ebola epidemic that has been spreading through Africa.