Egypt reacts to Libyan plague outbreak

July 11, 2009 at 2:31 PM
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CAIRO, July 11 (UPI) -- Egypt has declared a state of emergency along its shared board with Libya over an outbreak of bubonic plague, authorities said.

Since June 21, one person has died and four others were recovering from the outbreak in the eastern Libyan town of Tubruq, about 93 miles from the Egyptian border, Dr. John Jabbour of the World Health Organization said Friday.

Health checks were being conducted on anyone entering Egypt from Libya and pest control teams were spraying all vehicles coming through the border town of Sallum. The plague is spread by fleas on rodents.

WHO specialists were advising Libya about how to contain the outbreak, Jabbour told the IRIN news agency in a story published Saturday.

"What we can say here is that the situation is under control," Jabbour said.

Algeria, which also shares a border with Libya, has reported 50 cases of bubonic plague and two deaths in recent weeks, the London newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi reported Friday.

The plague has an incubation period of three to seven days, with most patients recovering if treated in time, Jabbour said.

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