10 November 2017

Africa: Malawi Prepares for 'Black Death' Deadly Plague - 'Worst Outbreak in 50 Years' and It's Still Spreading

Photo: Daily Trust
(File photo).

Malawi is on alert for any possible incident of the deadly airborne plague though it has been identified as one of the hotspots by the World Health Organization as priority countries to get ready to defend against the black death, its neighours are at risk amongys nine countries who has been placed on high alert, Ministry of Health has said.

The plague described as 'the worst in 50 years', has spread through coughing, sneezing or spitting and can kill within 24 hours.

It is in Madagascar, has now killed 143 people and infected 1,947 people and it is continuing to spread.

South Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania, La Réunion, Mozambique, Kenya, Ethiopia and Comoros have all been put on notice.

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr Dan Namarika said with "porus borders" the country could be at risk, assuring that the Ministry is on high alert and on top of things.

He said Malawi has "cross border teams that interface with our Mozambique counterparts."

Namalika said the Ministry of Health would highlight to clinicians throughout the country on the symptoms of the plague.

Plague symptoms include sudden fevers, head and body aches, vomiting and nausea.

"We have infection prevention materials ready and groups and teams redy to be activated if there is a trigger," said Namarika.

The World Health Organisation has earmarked £3.8m to combat disease and predicts it could take six months to stem the outbreak.

The plaque reportedly hit Malawi in 2002 but was contained .The new strain of the plague can be treated with antibiotics and the WHO cash will pay for extra medical personnel, the disinfection of buildings and fuel for ambulances.

Professor Johnjoe McFadden, a molecular geneticist at Surrey University, said: 'It's a crisis at the moment and we don't know how bad it's going to get. 'It's a terrible disease. It's broadly caused more deaths of humans than anything else, it's a very deadly pathogen.'

He added: 'It is a disease of poverty where humans are being forced to live very close to rats and usually means poor sewage and poor living conditions. 'That's the root cause of why it's still a problem in the world. If we got rid of rats living close enough to mankind then we wouldn't have the disease.'


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