A bubonic plague outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has seen several dozen people succumb to the long-feared disease, which caused Europe’s Black Death pandemic in the 14th century.
Multiple cases of the plague were identified in the Biringi area of Ituri Province in northeastern DR Congo between November 15 and December 13, Anne Laudisoit of New York-based NGO, Ecohealth Alliance, told AFP.
At least 520 people have become ill and “more than 31” of them have died, Ituri Health Minister Patrick Karamura told the outlet.
The vast majority of cases involved bubonic plague, with the exception of five instances of pneumonic plague and two instances of septicemic plague, which occur when the disease spreads to the lungs or blood, respectively.
Younger people were most affected, with the average age of patients being only 13. Among those infected was a three-month-old baby, according to Laudisoit.
The plague, which is caused by Yersinia pestis bacterium, is endemic to the province where it was first confirmed in 1926. Outbreaks occur regularly, with the World Health Organization (WHO) also issuing an alert over spiking cases of the disease in Ituri’s Rethy region in July last year.
The latest outbreak began with mass deaths among rats, which had been infected by germ-carrying fleas in their fur. Those fleas then started to look for new hosts and shifted onto humans, infecting them through their bites.
Bubonic plague is the most common form of the disease, which occurs after the bacillus travels through the blood and attacks the nearest lymph node. Those swollen and painful lymph nodes that can sometimes break open are known as ‘buboes’. Other symptoms include fever, headaches and vomiting.
The so-called Black Death, which according to various estimates killed between a third and a half of Europe’s population in the mid-14th century, while also heavily hitting North Africa and Asia, was the largest pandemic in human history and was caused by bubonic plague.
The fearsome disease is now curable with several types of antibiotics. However, without proper treatment, the plague can cause death in between 30 to 90 percent of those infected.
However, getting proper medical attention in DR Congo is often difficult as its health system suffers from lack of funding and is hampered by the activity of various militant groups. Besides the plague, the Central African country is also challenged by episodic Ebola outbreaks, malaria, cholera, HIV and other diseases.
Courtesy of rt.com
7 die at Spanish care home after getting Pfizer Covid-19 jab as ALL residents test positive for virus, second doses still to come
All 78 residents at a nursing home in central Spain have tested positive for Covid-19 after being given their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and at least seven people have died, staff confirmed on Monday.
Most of those who succumbed to the virus had existing conditions, according to Spanish news agency EFE, while four residents are currently hospitalized, and 12 staff have also been infected.
The huge outbreak is at the Lagartera Residence for the Elderly in the Toledo area, southwest of the capital Madrid.
The home’s 33 staff must now present a negative PCR test before they start work, and a spokesperson said that health measures to contain the spread of the virus are in place “at all times.”
“On January 13, all residents, including nursing home staff, were vaccinated with the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, and after six days the first symptoms began to appear in ten of the residents,” they said in a statement.
Some members of staff began to go off sick with the virus five days after being inoculated.
On January 21, management approved the decision to test all residents of the home and quarantine them to their rooms, with families informed of the move.
The testing results, on January 25, showed that all the residents had caught the virus apart from one, who then also tested positive at a later date.
In December, Spain’s Supreme Court ordered an investigation into deaths at nursing homes, which were a disturbing feature of the early pandemic, making up 69 percent of all Covid-19 fatalities between April 6 and June 20.
The Lagartera Residence for the Elderly insisted the current outbreak was its first of the pandemic, having remained virus-free during the first two waves of infections.
The next doses of the vaccine are to be administered at the home on February 3, and the next round of PCR tests will be carried out on February 5.
Across Spain, almost 1.5 million people have been injected with either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
More than 58,000 people have died from Covid-19 in Spain and the country has registered more than 2.7 million cases of the virus in total.
Courtesy of rt.com
Representative Stephen F. Lynch of Massachusetts has tested positive for Covid-19, his office said. The lawmaker received his second shot of the Pfizer vaccine before Joe Biden’s inauguration.
The 65-year-old tested positive on Friday, his office said. A staff member in his Boston office tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this week, spokesperson Molly Rose Tarpey added.
Lynch “had received the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine and subsequently received a negative Covid-19 test prior to attending President Biden’s Inauguration,” on January 20, the statement added, without specifying the date. Lynch has not developed any symptoms and feels fine, but will remain in self-quarantine, voting in Congress by proxy.
The vaccine requires two shots administered several weeks apart, and some time afterwards, to fully kick in, and none of them claim to offer full protection, so it’s possible to be infected even after both doses. A false positive test is also possible.
Another Massachusetts representative, Lori Trahan, reported testing positive for Covid-19 on Friday. She said she was asymptomatic and self-isolating, and plans to cast her votes by proxy, too. Last week, during a visit to Washington, she tested negative, she said.
Massachusetts currently has nine congressional districts, with all House seats held by Democrats. Lynch and Trahan represent the 8th and 3rd districts respectively.
Courtesy of rt.com