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posted by Fnord666 on Thursday October 12, @04:16AM   Printer-friendly
from the sounds-like-a-Monty-Python-skit dept.

The southeast African island of Madagascar is scrambling to contain an outbreak of pneumonic plague that has killed at least 42 people and infected 343 more since August.

[...] Pneumonic, the most lethal form [of plague], has broken out in Madagascar. Highly contagious, it is transmitted from person to person often by coughing. If untreated, it has a fatality rate close to 100 percent and can be fatal within 24 hours of being contracted.

Bubonic plague is spread by fleas or rodents to humans and can spread to a person's lungs. About 10 percent of bubonic plague cases develop to become pneumonic.

The third strain septicaemic, when the infection spreads through the bloodstream. This could happen from flea bites or if the bacteria enters through a cut on a person's skin, for example.

[...] The Madagascar outbreak could be much worse. It is by no means a repeat of the Great Plague of 1665, Europe's last bubonic plague epidemic that is believed to have killed 15 percent of London's population, up to 100,000 people.

"Historically, plague was responsible for widespread pandemics with high mortality," according to Charlotte Ndiaye of the World Health Organization (WHO). "It was known as the 'Black Death' during the 14th century, causing more than 50 million deaths in Europe. Nowadays, plague is easily treated with antibiotics and the use of standard precautions to prevent acquiring infection."

[...] WHO has sent 1.2 million doses of antibiotics to not only treat the current epidemic but prevent it from spreading. Up to 5,000 infected people will be able to be treated and an additional 100,000 who may have been exposed can be given prophylactics.


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  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12, @05:00AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12, @05:00AM (#580980)
  • (Score: 1) by d(++)b on Thursday October 12, @05:03AM

    by d(++)b (2755) on Thursday October 12, @05:03AM (#580981)

    Bubonic plague is spread by fleas or rodents

    Which is it? Fake news makes things hard for Morons. (And rats.)

  • (Score: 2) by looorg on Thursday October 12, @05:17AM (2 children)

    by looorg (578) on Thursday October 12, @05:17AM (#580986)

    If we have cornered the black death in Madagascar shouldn't we just burn it all to the ground to be sure it's gone ...

    • (Score: 4, Touché) by bob_super on Thursday October 12, @05:37AM

      by bob_super (1357) on Thursday October 12, @05:37AM (#580991)

      > just burn it all to the ground

      Man, didn't you see how hard we have to work to burn California to the ground already? Madagascar is 40% bigger, and gas more expensive...

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by Mykl on Thursday October 12, @05:59AM

      by Mykl (1112) on Thursday October 12, @05:59AM (#580999)

      If we have cornered the black death in Madagascar shouldn't we just burn it all to the ground to be sure it's gone ...

      Unfortunately, Madagascar is not the only place in the world with Plague, though it is the most widespread at present.

      This map [arstechnica.net] provided by Ars Technica in their article [arstechnica.com] on the topic shows the global presence of plague (though not rate) as at 2016.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by jmorris on Thursday October 12, @05:19AM (8 children)

    by jmorris (4844) Subscriber Badge <{jmorris} {at} {beau.org}> on Thursday October 12, @05:19AM (#580987)

    Yes, this is easy to control. So long as:

    1. It is isolated outbreaks in less traveled parts of the world.

    2. The world stays stable enough to easily drop a million doses of antibiotics down at the first sign of an outbreak.

    3. The damn thing doesn't become resistant like so many other diseases have.

    And if any of those assumptions go wobbly things get "interesting" really fast. This whole interconnected world with large numbers of people flying around is a pandemic waiting for that one in billion chance to unexpectedly happen, for the stars to suddenly align and several things go wrong at once. Problem is one in a billion isn't so rare if you roll those dice enough times, and we roll it every time a plane lands, every time some wierdo does some unnatural act with a monkey or some goofy crap, etc. Sooner or later, boom!

    • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Thursday October 12, @05:45AM (2 children)

      by bob_super (1357) on Thursday October 12, @05:45AM (#580994)

      > every time some wierdo does some unnatural act with a monkey

      They'd eat horse meat instead of monkey meat, but they don't have horses.

      • (Score: 2) by jmorris on Thursday October 12, @06:22AM (1 child)

        by jmorris (4844) Subscriber Badge <{jmorris} {at} {beau.org}> on Thursday October 12, @06:22AM (#581001)

        Eating a properly cooked monkey isn't an 'unnatural act'.

        • (Score: 3, Funny) by bob_super on Thursday October 12, @04:16PM

          by bob_super (1357) on Thursday October 12, @04:16PM (#581194)

          I've met many Texans who like their steaks to still moo in the plate.
          Having sex with a Texan who's previously eaten near-raw monkey meat might be considered unnatural, I guess, but isn't that what breath mints are for?

    • (Score: 2) by sjames on Thursday October 12, @07:43AM (3 children)

      by sjames (2882) on Thursday October 12, @07:43AM (#581021) Journal

      Here in the west, plague isn't what it used to be. It seems that when it swept through Europe, it pretty much killed everyone it was going to kill and then went dormant (about 33% died overall). The descendants (most westerners) are far more able to resist the plague, so we see few cases even though the disease organism is still endemic.

      Although the worst case is bad for people who don't have that evolutionary advantage, it's not the end of the human race by any means.

      If we lose the ability to drop a million doses of antibiotic in the hot spots, I doubt we'll retain the jetting around the world risk.

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12, @09:54AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12, @09:54AM (#581059)

        If we lose the ability to drop a million doses of antibiotic in the hot spots, I doubt we'll retain the jetting around the world risk.

        Depends. If it is for not being able to fly there and drop stuff, you're probably right. If it is for a lack of antibiotics that are still efficient, I don't see how it affects jetting around the world (unless a sufficient number of pilots get infected).

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12, @10:23AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12, @10:23AM (#581067)

        yes, because if we were immune 20 generations ago to the bacteria 2000 generations ago, we are certainly immune now.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12, @08:17PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12, @08:17PM (#581324)

      It's not like jmorris to panic in the face of the impending End of the World as we know it. And why is his bunker full of monkeys?

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Freeman on Thursday October 12, @02:50PM (1 child)

    by Freeman (732) on Thursday October 12, @02:50PM (#581150) Journal

    From what I understood, the reason for concern is this outbreak is of the Pneumonic variety which spreads much like the common cold and has a high mortality rate.

    --
    "I said in my haste, All men are liars." Psalm 116:11
    • (Score: 2) by rylyeh on Thursday October 12, @10:01PM

      by rylyeh (6726) Subscriber Badge <reversethis-{moc.liamg} {ta} {htadak}> on Thursday October 12, @10:01PM (#581380)

      There is not really much time for someone to determine that they don't just have a bad cough or flu.
      This is very dangerous if this form gets into an airport. Let's hope it doesn't happen!

      --
      I hear a noise at the door, of some immense slippery body lumbering against it. God, that hand! The window! The window!
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12, @09:13PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12, @09:13PM (#581349)

    During my last stint in the country, I read "The Plague" by Albert Camus. Quite a good book.

  • (Score: 1) by corey on Friday October 13, @10:25PM

    by corey (2202) on Friday October 13, @10:25PM (#582053)

    WHO has sent 1.2 million doses of antibiotics to not only treat the current epidemic but prevent it from spreading. Up to 5,000 infected people will be able to be treated and an additional 100,000 who may have been exposed can be given prophylactics.

    Front page of this week's The Guardian Weekly newspaper had a big story about antibiotic resistance plaguing the world over. I guess there's nor a lot else to do for the Madagascans.

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