The WHO, which has been working alongside Madagascar’s Ministry of Health, confirmed more than 231 people had been infected with the contagious plague and officials have warned the risk of the epidemic spreading is “high”. More than 50 million people in Europe were killed by the Black Death in the 1300s, which many historians believe was caused by several killer diseases including the pneumonic plague. Eastern and central Madagascar have been worst hit by the outbreak, sparking emergency

funding from the WHO. A WHO official said: “The risk of the disease spreading is high at national level… because it is present in several towns and this is just the start of the outbreak.” The plague has fatality rates of 30 to 100 percent if untreated and the pneumonic strand is transmitted person to person by air, making it more difficult to control. The WHO describes pneumonic plague as “the deadliest and most rapid form of plague”. READ MORE