An unusually large plague outbreak in Madagascar has taken 94 lives, the World Health Organisation said on Friday. The number of suspected cases has reached 1,153, Dr. Ibrahima Soce Fall, Africa emergencies chief for the U.N. health agency, told reporters in Geneva. More cases are expected, "but we think we can affect the curve very quickly thanks to the deployment of human resources and all types of intervention," he said. International agencies have sent more than one million doses of antibiotics and deployed medical teams. Plague is endemic in Madagascar, but this year’s outbreak is unusual because for the first time the disease has affected the Indian Ocean island’s two biggest cities, Antananarivo and Toamasina. More than 70 percent of the cases are pneumonic plague, a more virulent form that spreads through coughing, sneezing or spitting and is almost always fatal if untreated. Red Cross volunteers talk to villagers about the plague outbreak, 30 miles west of Antananarivo, Madagascar, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017 Credit: AP In some cases, it can kill within 24 hours. Like the bubonic form that often is found in Madagascar’s remote highlands, it can be treated with common antibiotics if caught in time. WHO has said the risk of global spread of the outbreak is low and it advises against travel or trade restrictions. It seeks $5.5 million to support the plague response. The Red Cross is sending its first-ever plague treatment center.
Foreign leaders can't think they can get away with meeting exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama just because they are doing it in a personal capacity, as they still represent their government, a senior Chinese official said on Saturday. China considers the Dalai Lama, who fled into exile in India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, to be a dangerous separatist. Visits by the Dalai Lama to foreign countries infuriate China, and fewer and fewer national leaders are willing to meet him, fearing the consequences of Chinese anger, though some have tried to placate Beijing by saying they are meeting him in a personal not official capacity.
In 2015, the Lilly Endowment approached the Zoo with a transformative opportunity – the Endowment would provide a $10 million grant to the Zoo, on the condition that it be used to implement a game-changing initiative that benefits the community institution’s long-term sustainability.