The plague death toll shows no sign of slowing as official figures reveal 165 have now lost their lives in Madagascar’s ‘worst outbreak in 50 years’.
Data shows a 15 per cent jump in fatalities over three days, with scientists concerned it has reached ‘crisis’ point and 10 countries now placed on high alert.
At least 2,034 people have been struck down by a more lethal form of the ‘medieval disease’ so far in the country off the coast of Africa, according to WHO statistics.
Some experts fear the disease could mutate and become untreatable during this year’s outbreak – which is expected to blight Madagascar until April.
Others worry the plague will go beyond mainland Africa and eventually reach the US, Europe and Britain, leaving millions more vulnerable due to how quick it can spread.
Experts warn 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 bubonic form, responsible for the ‘Black Death’ in the 14th century, which strikes the country each year and infects around 600 people.