Skip to content

Madagascar plague outbreak appears to be new, antibiotic resistant strain, can kill within three hours

By Marshall Connolly (CATHOLIC ONLINE)
11/15/2017 (6 months ago)
Catholic Online (

Fast killing disease may burn out before it spreads to mainland.

An ancient disease is stalking humanity once again, and this time it is exceptionally deadly. The plague has reemerged in Madagascar and is burning through the population there. Doctors fear the new strain is resistant to antibiotics and kills much faster than previous strains. 

A worker is disinfected after clearing a house of a plague victim. There are inconclusive reports the disease can kill within three hours. Such fast-killing diseases typically burn themselves out before they can spread far. The WHO has sent 1.2 million doses of antibiotics to the region.

A worker is disinfected after clearing a house of a plague victim. There are inconclusive reports the disease can kill within three hours. Such fast-killing diseases typically burn themselves out before they can spread far. The WHO has sent 1.2 million doses of antibiotics to the region.


By Marshall Connolly (CATHOLIC ONLINE)
Catholic Online (
11/15/2017 (6 months ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Black Death, Plague, Madagascar, spread, disease, outbreak, world, pandemic

LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) -- The plague, also known as the Black Death, is ravaging Madagascar, and doctors fear the disease will spread to Africa and the rest of the world between now and April. 

The plague is thought to have originated in Asia between 20,000 to 5,000 years ago with the germ undergoing a genetic change and becoming exceptionally deadly around 3,000 years ago. It has caused multiple plagues throughout history, notably the sixth century Plague of Justinian and the Black Death of 1347-1354. During the Black Death, the plague killed between 30-60 percent of the people in Europe. At that time, it was feared by many to be the end of the world. 

The plague has since spread and can be found in fleas carried by rodents around the globe. Thousands of cases are reported each year, but they are usually cured with antibiotics. The disease normally takes a week to kill, and fatalities only result when victims fail to get help in time. 

But every few hundred years or so, the plague appears to mutate and emerge in a deadlier form. This is what is happening in Madagascar.

Local officials have blamed the outbreak on a custom which involves digging up the dead and dancing with their bodies each year until they are fully decomposed. Despite local bans on the practice amid the outbreak, many people have defied the decree. The people believe the dead cannot enter heaven unless this is done. It is unclear if this practice is responsible for the outbreak, or if the disease entered the human population by some other form of transmission. 

What doctors do know is that this strain is extremely virulent. Whereas the plague normally takes up to a week to kill, the new strain has reportedly killed within three hours. That's faster than doctors can respond with life-saving antibiotics. 

People treating the sick can also catch the pneumonic plague, which is the same disease but spread by coughing. A victim who catches the disease in their lungs will die within 24 hours. 

So far, about 2,000 cases have been reported with 165 fatalities, but doctors fear the disease and deaths are going underreported. 

If there is any consolation, it is that the disease is killing so quickly, it may burn itself out in a short time, killing its patients before it can spread very far. Sick people travel less. 

However, countries in Africa and the islands around Madagascar are on high alert, looking for sick people stepping off boats and planes. Plague victims are easy to recognize, as their skin turns black and their lymph nodes swell. The disease is painful and causes severe coughing fits. 

The disease has a history of pandemic capability, so doctors fear such an eventuality. Should the disease outbreak to the rest of the world, it could ravage populations. It could also mutate further, developing new, yet deadlier varieties of itself. 

At this time, officials from the World Health Organization as well as from an array of other public health agencies are working around the clock to stop the disease. However, they warn their resources are tight. The World Health Organization has sent 1.2 million doses of antibiotics to the region. They also warn they expect the plague to become worse before it gets better. 

For now, the world has nothing to fear, since the disease is regionally contained. However, if it makes the jump to Africa, the long-term outlook could be grim. 

Support FREE Catholic Education


'Help Give every Student and Teacher FREE resources for a world-class Moral Catholic Education'

Copyright 2018 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for APRIL 2018
For those who have Responsibility in Economic Matters.
That economists may have the courage to reject any economy of exclusion and know how to open new paths.


More Africa

Herdsmen kill 19, including two priests in Nigeria Watch

Image of

At least 19 people, including two priests, were killed on Tuesday when nomadic cattle farmers in central Nigeria opened fire at morning ... continue reading

Christian Boko Haram kidnap victim may soon be rescued Watch

Image of Nigerian president [not [pictrued] promises quiet action against Boko Haram.

With 15-year-old Leah Sharibu still in captivity under the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram for not renouncing her Christian faith, ... continue reading

Africans are choosing life in battle over reproductive health Watch

Image of

African Catholics remained concerned about a push from Western leaders to promote abortion and contraception in Africa in the name of ... continue reading

Nuns work to stop violence in Nigeria Watch

Image of

With widespread violence plaguing Nigeria, Catholic religious sisters in the country have united in the name of peace to counter the ... continue reading

Pope Francis accepts bishop's resignation Watch

Image of Bishop Okpaleke (left) has resigned.

Pope Francis accepted the resignation Monday of a Nigerian bishop who had been rejected by many of the priests of his diocese since his ... continue reading

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.