Cases of the deadly airborne plague in Madagascar are still spreading and have spiraled by eight per cent in just a week, official figures have revealed.
The outbreak, which has been described as the ‘worst in 50 years’ and deemed to be at ‘crisis’ point, has now infected 1,947 people in the country off the coast of Africa.
New figures from the World Health Organization also show the ‘medieval disease’ has now claimed the lives of 143 people.
It comes amid warnings that cases could reach mainland Africa, with nine countries placed on high alert and told to brace for potential outbreaks.
Experts are concerned as the outbreak of plague in Madagascar this year is being fueled by a strain more lethal than the one which usually strikes the country.
Two thirds of cases have been caused by the airborne pneumonic plague, which can be spread through coughing, sneezing or spitting and kill within 24 hours.
It is strikingly different to the traditional bubonic form that strikes the country each year. This year’s outbreak has another six months to run, the WHO warns.