Plague outbreak in Madagascar
Health workers detected the first case in Moramanga district, a rural township, on Aug. 17. The patient died on Aug. 19. Between that time and Aug. 30, another 14 cases were identified, and 10 people died from the plague. Thus far all of the cases have been the pneumonic form of the plague.
As of Aug. 27, there have not been any new cases confirmed from the nearby districts or affected areas.
The plague, a bacterial illness, is caused by Yersinia pestis, a bacteria that mostly impacts wild rodents. The illness is transmitted between rodents and humans by fleas. Humans who get the disease develop the plague’s bubonic form, causing the lymph nodes to swell. If the bacteria reaches the lungs, it causes pneumonia, which makes it possible for people to transmit the illness to one another via infected cough droplets.
When the bubonic plague is diagnosed early, it can be treated using antibiotics. Once the bacteria is in the lungs, patients can die just 24 hours after being infected, making it one of the most deadliest infectious diseases.
The government of Madagascar sent a national task force to the area of the outbreak to help prevent spread of the disease. It also activated public health measures, such as finding other active cases as well as people who have come into contact with infected individuals; providing chemoprophylaxis; improving epidemiological surveillance; undertaking vector control, infection control and prevention activities; resource mobilization coordination; and social mobilization.