Madagascar Continues to Fight a Plague Outbreak

And to those who thought the plague was an ancient disease, think again. The people of Madagascar may have something to say about that. They might say history repeats itself.

The fact is that Madagascar has gotten hit by an extremely fast spreading plague outbreak. This has created panic and has prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to send to them over one million doses of needed antibiotics to this island nation. Because dating back to August, the country has witnessed in excess of 33 deaths and 200 infections.

Disease Has Become Lethal

Sadly, this outbreak is starting to look like the initial stages of the Ebola crisis in West Africa during the year 2014. This lethal disease can normally be confined to lightly populated rural regions but has managed to reach crowded cities. And it is circulating in a very highly transmissible state.

Many public buildings, such as schools and universities have been shut down so that authorities can spray to kill off any fleas, which are believed to be carrying the disease. Additionally, the government is forbidding any big public gatherings, such as concerts and sporting events.

Fears of the Outbreak Spreading to other Countries are Now Rising

It was late in September that the plague hit a basketball tournament and specifically teams who were from some Indian Ocean countries. As a result, a coach died who had come from the Seychelles, and another from South Africa was infected. The players are now monitored, health authorities had promised the WHO.

Unknown to most, the island of Madagascar usually has around 400 plague cases every year between the months of April and September, but these are typically restricted to the central highlands of the nation and are spread by the fleas who live on rats. These rats thrive in rice growing regions of the country. This particular outbreak is extremely worrying since the majorities of new cases is being discovered in cities and are of the pneumonic plague variety, the form that is transmitted through coughing.

The plague affliction wasn’t confirmed until after blood samples gathered from a 47 year old lady who had died on Sept. 11 in a hospital. Her case was observed to be pneumonia and was confirmed at the local branch of the infamous Pasteur Institute. These samples tested as positive using a rapid plague test. The WHO was then notified of this fact on Sept. 13.

The plague affliction is brought on by the bacteria known as the Yersinia pestis. Although this disease is quite terrifying, it is generally treated and cured using common antibiotics. However, the problems is that they have found antibiotic resistant versions of this disease in Madagascar.

The WHO calculated and decide that the antibiotic shipment they sent to Madagascar, along with another 244,000 doses that are in route, should be more than enough for treating 5,000 afflicted patients and also protect an additional 100,000 people who have possibly been exposed.

They have also shipped to the island some preventative items like disinfection equipment as well as other personal protective gear. These items are very similar to those used during the Ebola epidemic. In addition, local health professional will receive training in order to treat patients safety and to monitor all their contacts and to offer to them antibiotic treatments.