Posted on November 13, 2017

Malawi Becomes Tenth African Nation Put on Alert for the Spread of Plague

Charlie Bayliss, Daily Mail, November 12, 2017

Malawi is bracing itself for an outbreak of the plague after the deadly disease continues to spread across the island nation of Madagascar.

At least 143 people have died and more than 2,000 others have been infected in Madagascar since an outbreak in early August this year.

Yet Malawi’s health secretary confirmed the country is ready for any reported cases of the disease amid mounting concerns of Africa’s ‘porous borders’.

South Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania, La Réunion, Mozambique, Kenya, Ethiopia and Comoros have all been warned they could be at risk from a possible outbreak as well.

The last reported case of the plague in Malawi were reported in 2002.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has pledged £3.8m to combat the disease — yet predicts it may take six months to stem the outbreak.

The strain can be cured with antibiotics and the WHO money will go towards paying for extra medical personnel, the disinfection of buildings and fuel for ambulances.

{snip} Health expert Professor Jimmy Whitworth described the current outbreak as the ‘worst in 50 years or more’.

How did this year’s outbreak begin?


However, some believe it could be caused by the bubonic plague, which is endemic in the remote highlands of Madagascar.

If left untreated, it can lead to the pneumonic form, which is responsible for two thirds of the cases recorded so far in this year’s outbreak.


Madagascar sees regular outbreaks of plague, which tend to start in September, with around 600 cases being reported each year on the island.

However, this year’s outbreak has seen it reach the Indian Ocean island’s two biggest cities, Antananarivo and Toamasina.