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.