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Bubonic plague turns Madagascar into no go holiday destination

Ivato International AirportThe African island of Madagascar has been turned into a pariah holiday destination by an ongoing outbreak of bubonic plague. According to the latest reports, 80 people have died from the mediaeval Black Death disease and another 600 have been infected.

Health authorities on the Indian Ocean island say both the bubonic and pneumonic strains of the disease have been detected in rural and urban zones. Antananarivo is the island’s capital and one of the areas where plague cases and deaths have been reported.

World health officials say some cases of the plague are reported every year during the latter stages of the monsoon season. These typically average between 300 and 600 annually and are about four fifths of the total for the world.

Madagascar health director Manitra Rakotoarivony noted that the plague was usually only found in the Madgascan countryside, but seemed to have spread into built-up areas of towns and cities in 2017. The health agency also says the plague is spreading quickly.

London School of Tropical Medicine professor Jimmy Whitworth says the plague is not usually a problem in cities in modern times. He continued by saying that while the disease might spread in Madagascar it was unlikely to be carried overseas.

In an update to its travel advisory for Madagascar posted earlier this month, the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office states that plague is at present prevalent. Prospective holidaymakers need to bear this in mind when booking trips to Madagascar.

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