Plague in Madagascar hits urban areas, kills 2 dozen people

2017-10-03 16:01
Officers from Ministry of Health spread pesticide against carriers of plague such as fleas in a primary school at Andraisoro, a district of the Antananarivo. (File: AFP)

Officers from Ministry of Health spread pesticide against carriers of plague such as fleas in a primary school at Andraisoro, a district of the Antananarivo. (File: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg -  Authorities in Madagascar are struggling to contain an outbreak of plague that has killed two-dozen people in recent weeks and has prompted a ban on large public gatherings in the capital to curb the disease's spread.

The dead include a basketball coach from the Seychelles who was participating in a tournament in Madagascar's capital, Antananarivo. Five people have died of plague in the capital, reported L'Express de Madagascar, a daily newspaper.

The government has begun a campaign to disinfect school classrooms in the city, compelling students to stay at home in the coming days. Many people have bought surgical masks and other medical supplies in large quantities, raising concerns about a shortage of medicine.

"Once everybody hears that this is a major thing, everyone runs out and buys everything at the pharmacy," said Joshua Poole, the Madagascar representative for Catholic Relief Services, an aid group based in Baltimore, Maryland. "Access to those essential items is a challenge."

Poole said the death of the basketball coach from the Seychelles had attracted more international attention to this year's outbreak of plague, which is endemic to Madagascar.

The coach, 49-year-old Alix Allisop, died in a hospital on Wednesday after experiencing breathing problems, according to the Seychelles News Agency.

A jazz festival, Madajazzcar, canceled its opening concert in Antananarivo this week and suspended other events until further notice.

Plague has also been reported in the port city of Toamasina in eastern Madagascar and other cities.

At least 114 people have been infected with plague and the disease is affecting large urban areas unlike like past outbreaks, increasing the risk of transmission, the World Health Organisation said on Sunday.

WHO, which is sending more staff and supplies, including antibiotics, to Madagascar, said about 400 case of plague, mostly bubonic, are reported every year in the country. The last reported outbreak in Madagascar occurred in a remote area in December 2016 and was mostly bubonic plague, the United Nations health agency said.

"Bubonic plague is spread by infected rats via flea bite, pneumonic by person-to-person transmission. The current outbreak includes both forms of plague," the agency said. It described plague as a "disease of poverty" that can kill quickly if untreated but can be cured if antibiotics are administered early.

Read more on:    world health organisation  |  madagascar  |  southern africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.