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Madagascar Village 'Hit By Bubonic Plague'

World  (tags: 'HUMANRIGHTS!', africa, children, death, disease, humans, Medical help, plague )

- 1915 days ago -
A village in Madagascar has been hit by a deadly outbreak of the bubonic plague, medical experts on the island have confirmed. -- video with article-


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Kit B (276)
Saturday January 25, 2014, 8:47 am
Photo Credit: ICRC - Madagascar prison

A village in Madagascar has been hit by a deadly outbreak of the bubonic plague, medical experts on the island have confirmed.

Tests were carried out after at least 20 people in the village, near the north-western town of Mandritsara, were reported to have died last week.

The International Committee of the Red Cross warned in October that Madagascar was at risk of a plague epidemic.

The disease is transmitted to humans via fleas, usually from rats.

Bubonic plague, known as the Black Death when it killed an estimated 25 million people in Europe during the Middle Ages, is now rare.

Last year, Madagascar had 60 deaths from the plague, the world's highest recorded number.

The Pasteur Institute of Madagascar confirmed on Tuesday that tests taken from bodies in the village last week showed that they had died of the bubonic plague.

The BBC's Tim Healy in the capital, Antananarivo, says health officials have now gone to the remote area to investigate.

There has been a programme to exterminate rats, fleas and cockroaches in Madagascar's prisons to avoid outbreaks of the plague, which is spread because of unhygienic conditions, he says.

The Pasteur Institute said there were concerns that the disease could spread to towns and cities where living standards have declined since a coup in 2009 and the ensuing political crisis.

On 20 December a second round is being held of presidential elections aimed at ending the political deadlock.

What is bubonic plague?

Caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis

Essentially a disease of wild rodents, spread by fleas

Plague spreads to humans either by the bite of infected fleas or rats

Does not spread from person to person

Patients develop swollen, tender lymph glands (called buboes) and fever, headache, chills and weakness

It is treatable if caught early, but can be lethal

BBC News - Africa

Kit B (276)
Saturday January 25, 2014, 8:50 am

Why should we be interested in a plague on an island in Africa? This is a world of fast travel, a plague can be passed quickly from one person to the next and be world wide in a matter of weeks. The plague was not immediately isolated or identified, so we should know about what is happening and we should be aware of travel.

Monica T (278)
Saturday January 25, 2014, 9:26 am
I agree with Kit. It is very important to know about what is happening regardless of how far the location of the happenings is from us. With the advancement of transportation technologies, diseases can travel almost 100 times faster than before. Moreover, the treatment for bubonic plague is actually readily available almost in every drugstore (antibiotics such as aminoglicosides and fluoquinolones) and the mortality associated with of bubonic plague is about 115% in treated cases, compared to a mortality of 4060% in untreated cases. So, yes, this is important to know...
Thanks so much, Kit!!!

Monica T (278)
Saturday January 25, 2014, 9:28 am
I misspelled 'fluoroquinolones' there.. sorry!

Kit B (276)
Saturday January 25, 2014, 9:57 am

The treatment today is available, the recognition of the disease and it's symptoms is not. The average GP or Emergency room doctor may not recognize the symptoms until the disease is far advanced. Awareness is always nine tenths of the cure. Thanks Monica.

JL A (281)
Saturday January 25, 2014, 12:33 pm
Very important to address and minimize the risk of a global epidemic

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Saturday January 25, 2014, 11:24 pm
Thank you for the shocking news! (n, p, t)

Gail Ring (89)
Sunday January 26, 2014, 8:27 am
awful news.. lets hope it is addressed and not allowed to spread..

pam w (139)
Sunday January 26, 2014, 9:01 am
Madagascar is such a poor nation! It's the most depressing place I've ever visited....uneducated, unemployed, unfed and uncaring people are everywhere.

Kits right, though....there is a small tourist economy.....I hope nobody has carried this diesase back to the mainland.....

Kit B (276)
Sunday January 26, 2014, 9:06 am

Madagascar has more than one airport and a shipping industry, both mean the disease could easily be carried away from the island. It took a few weeks before the doctors realized that this was Bubonic Plague, it is a rare disease but one that can travel from infected persons.

lee e (114)
Sunday January 26, 2014, 9:25 am
Terrible - I hope they can contain it - that country is already at bottom!

linda b (186)
Sunday January 26, 2014, 9:31 am
Frightening, thanks Kit.

Caroline S (78)
Sunday January 26, 2014, 9:45 am
Thank you for this article, really terrible news.

Barbara K (61)
Sunday January 26, 2014, 3:01 pm
Thanks, my friend. I was quite concerned when I first heard of this disease rearing its ugly head again. It is truly frightening when these horrific diseases, that we thought were conquered, make a comeback. I hope that it isn't spread farther. We need to worry about it spreading in the "poor" countries.

marie C (163)
Sunday January 26, 2014, 4:41 pm
Thanks Kit dreadful

Judith C (159)
Sunday January 26, 2014, 5:12 pm
Sad news

Fiona Ogilvie (562)
Sunday January 26, 2014, 8:27 pm
While everyone reads this article, we need to realize that globally antibiotics are becoming more and more ineffective.

Fiona Ogilvie (562)
Sunday January 26, 2014, 8:28 pm
Please flag the inappropriate comment.

Nancy M (147)
Monday January 27, 2014, 8:31 am
Many good points raised here. Effective antibiotics so that people recover, immediate diagnosis, containment. Kit you are right, travel can cause this to spread but not necessarily human travel. The fleas or the rats would have to move. But that can and does happen.

It is so difficult to diagnose some fo these diseases as so many thing present in a similar fashion. Right now, we'd think flu not plague. Hopefully healthcare providers over there will realize sooner.

Monica T (278)
Monday January 27, 2014, 8:45 am
Once again, Kit is right. The healthcare practitioners' awareness about this rare but fatal disease is the key point in preventing such outbreak from reaching high numbers of mortality.
And very true, Betsy. Antibiotics are becoming more and more ineffective, and in my experience, we owe that in part to inappropriate prescribing from doctors and also the patient's own non-compliance to their doctors' advice about the appropriate way to use antibiotics.
I haven't checked any recent news on this, but I hope the plague hasn't spread much and that the healthcare providers in Madagascar has found a way to stop this scary outbreak...

Monica T (278)
Monday January 27, 2014, 9:33 am
I found a petition to the WHO regarding this... Sharing, in the hope that the WHO can and will do something...

Kit B (276)
Monday January 27, 2014, 9:48 am
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