WHO Sends 1.2 Million Antibiotic Doses To Combat Plague Outbreak In Madagascar

WHO Sends 1.2 Million Antibiotic Doses To Combat Plague Outbreak In Madagascar

Madagascar Is Fighting A Deadly Outbreak Of Plague

There are three types of plague - bubonic affecting the lymph nodes, septicaemia which causes bleeding under the skin, and pneumonic which affects respiration. It is considered the more deadly form of the plague.

"The faster we move, the more lives we save", said Dr. Charlotte Ndiaye, WHO Representative in Madagascar.

The outbreak has hit two main regions, with the first being eastern Madagascar, where the first deal on August 28 was posted, and the other is in central Madagascar and mainly in the capital of Antananrivo.

The medicines are being distributed to health facilities and mobile health clinics across the country with the support of the Ministry of Health and partners.

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The WHO and its partners have started deploying emergency response teams, and as of yesterday, 30 experts were expected to arrive, with 12 more in the process of deploying. One coach from Seychelles has died, and another from South Africa has been diagnosed, but survived. The WHO and Madagascar's health ministry are screening departing passengers at the country's global airport.

The World Health Organisation, which has been working with Madagascar's Ministry of Health, confirmed 231 people had been infected with the contagious plague and officials have warned the risk of the epidemic spreading is "high". Plague can be treated if spotted early enough; but pneumonic plague can be fatal within 24 hours of infection.

The plague has fatality rates of 30 to 100 per cent if untreated and the pneumonic strand is transmitted person to person by air, making it more hard to control. "The infection and death of a foreign visitor to the country without a known source of transmission is of concern".

The CDC says the risk to travelers appears to be very low; however, travelers have been infected, and one died. "However, Member States should consider reviewing their preparedness plans for imported cases". Increasing resistance of fleas, which transmit the bacteria from rodents to people, is a concern.

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Jocelyne Razafiarivony, from the Mothers' Union in Madagascar, commented: "We pray day and night that God would preserve Malagasy people from disease".

Those outbreaks generally occur in remote rural areas of the island.

The CDC added that local officials are working to control fleas and are cancelling mass gatherings, given that the pneumonic form of the disease can spread from person to person in close contact.

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