Black Death Plague: Where is the Black Death now? Will it spread to the West?

Where is the Black Death plague now?

The deadly disease is currently contained on the African island of Madagascar, though the World Heath Organisation (WHO) has warned it could soon spread to other nations.

The WHO has released a list of nine at-risk nations, highlighting where the plague is likely to invade next. The countries include South Africa, Kenya and British tourist hotspots Mauritius and Seychelles.

Reported plague cases have dipped in recent days, but the WHO is preparing for another wave of the disease. 

The WHO tweeted: “The daily number of plague cases reported in Madagascar has been declining as of 12 October.

“Most recent confirmed case: 20 October. Even if the recent declining trend is confirmed, we can’t rule out the possibility of further plague spikes in Madagascar between now and April 2018.”

About 124 people have been killed by the disease in Madagascar, with more than 1300 others infected. 

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Could the Black Death plague reach the West?

The Black Death is an umbrella term that refers to the pneumonic and bubonic plagues. 

In the the majority of Madagascan cases, the victim has been infected with pneumonic plague, the deadliest strain of the disease which has a 100 per cent fatality rate if not treated in time.

Unlike the more common bubonic plague, which is usually contracted via insect bites, the pneumonic plague is airborne and can be transferred via coughing and sneezing. 

For this reason increased security measures have been put in place for people flying out of Madagascar.

Anyone travelling from the island to the Seychelles is subject to a six-day quarantine, according to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. 

The UK Government has urged Brits in Madagascar to be aware of the dangers, without going so far as discouraging travel to the island.

A statement said: “There is currently an outbreak of pneumonic and bubonic plague in Madagascar; outbreaks of plague tend to be seasonal and occur mainly during the rainy season, with around 500 cases reported annually.

“Whilst outbreaks are not uncommon in rural areas, the latest outbreak has seen an increase in reported cases in urban areas, including Antananarivo.”

Britain and Europe was ravaged by the Black Death in the 14th century, when the disease spread from Asia. 

Up to 200 million people died from the disease – a shocking 60 per cent of Europe’s total population.

The plague then made a resurgence in the 17th century, when one in five Londoners who caught the disease died.