According to health authorities, at least 46 cases of plague have been reported in Madagascar between August and late November. Of the 46 cases, 36 have been associated with bubonic plague and ten with pneumonic plague. In addition, at least 14 deaths have been confirmed. According to local sources, the most affected areas include Ambalavao, Ankazobe, Miarinarivo, Ambatofinandrahana, Midongy du Sud, and Tsiroanomandidy.
Plague is a bacterial infection that typically affects rodents and is most often transmitted from rodents to other animals and humans via flea bites. Bubonic plague is the most common form of the disease, characterized by swollen lymph nodes; it is fatal in 30 to 60 percent of cases. Pneumonic plague occurs when the bacteria infects the lungs; symptoms include fever, headache, weakness, pneumonia, chest pain, shortness of breath, cough, and sometimes bloody or watery mucous. It is the most virulent form of the disease and can be spread from person to person. Without prompt and effective treatment, pneumonic plague is always fatal. Plague can be treated with antibiotics.
Individuals in Madagascar should take measures to protect themselves from insect bites (use insect repellents, wear long sleeved shirts and pants, etc.), maintain strict standards of sanitation (cleanliness to discourage presence of rodents, elimination of rodent habitats outdoors - e.g. brush, rock piles, pet food, etc.), use flea control products on all pets, and avoid contact with potentially infected persons. Anyone presenting with the above symptoms is advised to seek immediate medical attention.
Copyright and Disclaimer