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Black death plague ravaging Madagascar will ‘get WORSE’ as antibiotics AREN’T working

At least 165 people have been killed by the devastating outbreak of an airborne disease spreading like wildfire in Madagascar.

Around another 2,000 people have been struck down by the – called pneumonic plague – by the lethal “medieval disease”.

Infection and immunity expert Dr Matthew Avison, of University of Bristol, has revealed the outbreak in east Africa is likely to become more serious before the "crisis" ends.

Speaking exclusively to Daily Star Online, Dr Avison said because the disease is “extremely rare” it has been “resilient” to antibiotics.

“Because this disease is extremely rare, it doesn’t get exposed to antibiotics that often,” he said.

“That means it’s more resistant to antibiotics and the risk of death is higher.”

However, he said if antibiotics are handed out quickly then the disease “can still be treated”.

Failure to do so could result in the outbreak – the “worst in 50 years” – spreading to other continents, including Europe and the US, he warned.

“It’s starting to be a big problem,” he said.

“The worry is it’s going to spread to other countries if not properly contained. There is evidence that is happening already.

“It’s will probably get worse before it gets better.”

Officials from the World Health Organisation (WHO) have warned there is a risk the disease could spread to other continents.

Scientists also believe the disease – which can kill in 24 hours – could become untreatable in the future if the virus mutates.

Dr Avison said this is unlikely to happen anytime soon as old antibiotics developed decades ago can still cure the disease.

He said the problem is “access to those” antibiotics in countries with poor health infrastructure.

The airborne pneumonic plague can be spread by coughing, sneezing, spitting and other contact with bodily fluids.

Two thirds of cases have been caused by the airborne pneumonic plague.

The WHO has said this current outbreak is “different” to that seen before.

Nine countries – including South Africa, Seychelles, La Reunion, Tanzania, Mauritius, Comoros, Mozambique, Kenya and Ethiopia – are now on high alert amid fears the disease could go global.

Dr Charlotte Ndiaye, a WHO Representative in Madagascar, said: “WHO is concerned that plague could spread further because it is already present in several cities and this is the start of the epidemic season, which usually runs from September to April.”

The WHO has delivered 1.2million doses of antibiotics to fight the disease.

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