'Black Death' plague emerges in Madagascar, kills 124

Map of Madagascar. Photo credit: Getty

A strain of Black Death - the plague that killed 25 million people in Europe during medieval times - has resulted in the deaths of more than 1300 people in Africa.

The outbreak has set off warnings for nine countries in southeast Africa, with Madagascar the most heavily affected. It is believed the disease started there.

News of the plague has been tempered with the knowledge that Madagascar is a hotbed for diseases of that type, as pointed out by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

"Plague, though terrifying, is nothing new in Madagascar, where about 600 cases are reported annually," the organisation said on its website.

WHO officials said while "health officials couldn't explain it", the plague is different this time.

A Crisis Emergency Committee has been established in response to the outbreak, which will "coordinate surveillance, contact tracing, case management, isolation and supplies" until it is contained.

Air Seychelles, one of Madagascar's biggest airlines, stopped flying earlier in the month, in an effort to contain the spread and airports are screening passengers to avoid spread of the plague.

The other countries affected by the spread of the disease so far are the Comoros, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, French territory La Réunion, the Seychelles and Tanzania.


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