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Bubonic plague claims 32 lives in Madagascar


ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar (AP) -- Bubonic plague, which wiped out a third of Europe's population in the Middle Ages, has reared its ugly head in the African island state of Madagascar where 32 people have died in a fresh outbreak of the so-called Black Death disease, according to health authorities.

Some 84 suspected cases of bubonic plague - 60 of them suspected of being pneumonic or pulmonary plague, a more virulent strain of the disease - have been reported in five of the island's 112 districts in the past month.

Pneumonic plague is caused by the same bacteria that occur in bubonic plague but, while bubonic plague is usually transmitted by bites from rat-borne fleas and can be treated with antibiotics, pneumonic plague can be inhaled and transmitted between humans without involvement of animals or fleas and, if untreated, has a very high fatality rate, experts say. It can kill within 24 hours.

Last year, Madagascar reported 60 deaths from bubonic plague. Poor hygiene and declining living standards as a result of a protracted political crisis since a coup in 2009 are cited as the primary causes of the spread of the disease.


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rkeeeballs December 20 2013 at 8:42 AM

Can't post.....not ever going to be on facebook !.....HuffPost and AOL has shut out a lot of voices trying to force this BS !

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7 replies
BradyBeans December 20 2013 at 2:29 PM

Most of the wild rabbits in the state of New Mexico (USA) are infected with plague, and the residents of the state have been advised for years not to eat them.

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bah002 December 20 2013 at 1:31 PM

Bubonic Plague can be cured with antibiotics, it can kill if not treated, but we have a lot more deadly disease's today.

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1 reply
sseldorado bah002 December 21 2013 at 12:30 AM

I can't think of one that can kill you in 24 hours though.

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hmadden December 20 2013 at 12:51 PM

Animals infected with bubonic plague have been and continue to be occasionally found in California (mostly in the wild). It's still out there.

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Chris December 21 2013 at 12:23 AM




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ET December 20 2013 at 12:27 PM

Recommending historical book "Justinian's Flea".

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baileysno1lala December 21 2013 at 1:41 AM

My God...in this day and age, people are STILL dying from this horrific disease!

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sfisher951 December 20 2013 at 8:13 PM

To the writer of this article (or at least to the one who wrote the entry headline) - the Bubonic Plague was never "a thing of the past." There are cases every year even in the United States, particularly in western states such as NM.

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buffalogal December 20 2013 at 9:32 AM

HuffPost must have taken lessons from NSA. Got an A+!

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buffalogal December 20 2013 at 9:37 AM

About the bubonic plague...with travel, lack of proper hygiene and limited access to health care, this will become an epidemic and tragedy of inconceivable proportions.

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1 reply
mattcoul69 buffalogal December 20 2013 at 9:55 AM

You are correct, Buffalogal. The potential is certainly there, particularly with international air travel. One infected person (esp. with pneumonic plague) on a plane is all it takes. It isn't particularly easy to transmit plague -- even the pneumonic form, which usually requires close contact -- but the closed environment and crowded seating of a plane would be nearly ideal for transmitting it.

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