While normally seen by most as a relic of the medieval world, a new strain of the Plague has health experts worldwide increasingly concerned. As in what could easily grow into the worst epidemic since the resurgence of Ebola a few years back, a Madagascar based outbreak of the Plague has started to spread at an alarmingly fast rate. With despite this new outbreak already having made itself known in all the countries major cities, local medical authorities still do not believe the disease to have come even close to peaking. Efforts to stop this new Plague as well have thus far proven unsuccessful. As despite the World Health Organization issuing an official plague warning to all nine neighboring countries in the past few weeks, just today it was announced these preventative efforts have failed. As the disease has now been spotted in all nine.
In the modern year though is the disease that once caused the greatest pandemic in human history really still such a threat? At least in Africa the answer seems to be yes. With doctors stating this specific new variant is a much bigger threat then recent smaller outbreaks, as it seems to be based around the rarer but far more deadly pneumonic form of the disease. Which means this strain of the Plague bacteria is capable of airborne transmission, and can be spread as easily as through just a cough.
While medical treatment has surely improved since medieval times, it’s important to remember this is still a disease that once wiped out around 60% of Europe’s total population. This is why even modern European governments are increasingly taking this new outbreak seriously. With the British government even officially warning its citizens to stay away from the island nation that is normally a hotspot for UK tourists. While Western governments start to put in place tourist travel bans to the affected areas, hoping to at least keep the disease contained to the single continent. A brave few have recently begun raising what really should be the obvious question.
Which is what to do when a full on African epidemic ensures that the already quite high number of refugee’s trying to escape the continent, explodes even higher. With European nations already having trouble regulating to any reliable degree, the influx of people coming in. What hopes do they have if those numbers both increase and begin to include infected carriers of the disease that once so badly ravaged Europe.
For now the quick spread of the disease along with its wide range of targets continues to catch medical officials off guard. This includes the likes of Madagascar’s Director of Health, Dr. Manitra Rakotoarivony who has stated, “Normally people who catch the plague live in poor areas, but people in every place in society are catching the disease.” While the World Health Organization has already established a Crisis Emergency Committee to centralize and coordinate a response, their efforts thus far have proven useless. With steps like shutting down local airlines, or closing schools and businesses having failed to stop the disease from spreading to mainland African nations such as South Africa, Mozambique, and Kenya who now all have confirmed cases of their own.
While millions of dollars’ worth of antibiotics and other aid are now being sent to Africa to help combat the diseases spread, it’s unlikely the death toll won’t just keep climbing for at least some time. With that in mind, it will be interesting to see if the threat of this deadly disease might actually be the issue that forces officials in Western Europe to rethink their open border refugee policies. Or if instead “humanitarian interests” will continue to take the priority even at the cost of their own citizens lives.
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