Plague fears grow as Malawi becomes tenth African nation put on alert for the spread of the killer disease
- At least 143 people have died of the plague following an outbreak in Madagascar
- Another 2,000 people have been infected since the spread in August this year
- Malawi’s Dr Dan Namarika warned ‘porous borders’ may help spread the disease
- The last reported case of the plague in Malawi were reported in 2002
(Daily Mail Online) 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’.
Dr Dan Namarika, principal secretary in the ministry of health, said the country were working in conjunction with Mozambique to help best prepare for a possible outbreak.
He said: ‘We have infection prevention materials ready and groups and teams ready to be activated if there is a trigger.’
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.
Cases have risen by eight per cent in just the space of one week and scientists are now working hard to ensure the disease does not spread from Madagascar to mainland Africa.
Health expert Professor Jimmy Whitworth described the current outbreak as the ‘worst in 50 years or more’.
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