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article imagePneumonic plague hits Madagascar

By Tim Sandle     Jan 1, 2014 in World
Cases of pneumonic plague have been reported in Madagascar during December 2013. Efforts to slow down the spread of bubonic plague by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Pasteur Institute, which began in 2012 appear unsuccessful.
The newly reported cases came a short while after it was confirmed that there was an outbreak of the bubonic plague in a village in the north-west of the island (north-western town of Mandritsara).
Dr Voahangy Ravaoalimalala, vice-director of the Malagasy Institut Pasteur, which performs pathogen tests for the health ministry in Antananarivo, is quoted by All-Africa as saying: "Bubonic plague can be treated easily with antibiotics, and it takes longer to develop, but this time some cases of pneumonic plague have also been identified. This form of plague is harder to treat, as it can kill people within three days."
Pneumonic plague is more deadly than bubonic plague. Bubonic plague is a disease, circulating mainly in fleas on small rodents. It is one of three types of bacterial infections caused by Yersinia pestis. Pneumonic plague is caused by the same bacterium and manifests in people as a severe type of lung infection. Bubonic plague is usually transmitted by flea bites and can be treated with antibiotics, pneumonic plague is easier to contract and if untreated, has a very high case-fatality ratio
Incidents of plague are not new to the island. In 2012 Madagascar had 60 deaths from bubonic plague, which was the world's highest recorded number. With this recent outbreak, The Guardian reports that 32 people have died.
Last year a paper was written reviewing the possibility of the 'The Plague' (or the 'Black Death' re-emerging as a major global infectious disease. The paper was written by a Digital Journalist and it can be found here.
More about Madagascar, Plague, pneumonic, Bubonic plague
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