Madagascar Losing Control of Plague Outbreak
Kevin Felts 11.10.17
Things are going from bad to worse in Madagascar. First, there was an outbreak of the plague which started earlier than normal. (Plague is somewhat common in Madagascar. Outbreaks are usually controlled with public health measures and free antibiotics.)
This not the Bubonic plague, which is spread by flea bites. It is Pneumonic plague, which is spread through cough droplets. This poses a high transmission risk because it does not require a disease vector, such as a flea, but is transmitted directly from person to person.
In early November 2017, health officials in Madagascar stated, “This is the worst plague outbreak in 50 years.”
Mid-November, health officials are saying the outbreak may be out of control. Rather than this being a localized outbreak, terms like “Global Outbreak” are being used.
From the Daily Star: Plague outbreak feared OUT OF CONTROL as police forced to SEIZE infected bodies.
Cases have risen by 8% in just one week and scientists frantically working to make sure the airborne infection doesn’t spread to mainland Africa.
Aid workers on the ground have now revealed their battle with the plague.
Nine countries are now on high alert amid fears the plague could go global.
Medication to treat the plague is free, but many are refusing to seek help, aid workers revealed, reports South African newspaper Mail & Guardian.
Fantasia Ranjavelontsalana, a volunteer, said: “They are afraid to go to the doctor because even a simple cough can be diagnosed as plague and people are afraid of that.”
Meanwhile, some families are not giving back the bodies of the dead – with the police having to seize the infected corpses.
While most outbreaks in Madagascar affect rural areas, the current outbreak is in urban areas. That factor makes transmission of airborne plague easier due to people being so close to each other.
Even if this current outbreak is controlled, there is a lot to learn from these types of situations. For example, when there was an outbreak of Swine flu in 2009, President Obama refused to close the borders. His reasoning was that closing the borders would have had a huge financial impact.
What did we learn from the 2009 Swine Flu outbreak? The United States government puts money ahead of the public’s safety.
If this outbreak of airborne plague does go global, can we expect the U.S. government to close its borders? Judging by what happened in 2009, the borders will remain open.
Let’s keep an eye on the situation in Madagascar.