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Ebola outbreak in West Africa

The West African Ebola outbreak has continued to increase in severity. As of 11 August, the total number of reported cases stands at 1848. Since the outbreak began, 1013 people have died. The outbreak has spread to Nigeria, where 13 cases resulting in two deaths have been reported. The WHO has said it will use the experimental Ebola vaccine Zmapp to limit the spread of the disease. Several airlines, including British Airways have suspended flights to affected nations. A Spanish priest who contracted the disease during his work as a missionary has been named as the first European to die in the outbreak.

Black death reported in China and USA

One man has died from bubonic plague and 151 people have been quarantined in Yumen and surrounding villages in Gansu province, northern China. He is thought to have contracted the disease from a dead marmot. In the USA, a dog has died from pneumonic plague and four people have been found with symptoms after coming into contact with the dog.

The two plagues, along with septicaemic plague, are popularly known as 'the Black Death'. They are bacterial conditions spread via infected fleas, and present with swollen black pustules. Pneumonic plague is the only form of the disease transmitted from person to person.

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