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Madagascar Plague Outbreak Kills 40 Out Of 119 Cases

The World Health Organization is warning of the danger of a rapidly spreading disease in Madagascar that has already killed 40 people.

A task force has been activated to manage the outbreak of the plague. Humans typically develop the bubonic form of plague when they are bitten by an infected flea that is spread by rodents. While bubonic plague can be treated with antibiotics if caught early, about 2% of the cases are the more dangerous pneumonic form, which can be spread by coughing, the BBC reported.

[quote text_size=”small” author=”– World Health Organization”]

There is now a risk of a rapid spread of the disease due to the city’s high population density and the weakness of the healthcare system.


The WHO warns that the situation is worsened in Madagascar by high resistance levels among fleas to a commonly used insecticide.

The first known case was a man in Soamahatamana west of the capital, Antananarivo. The man was identified on August 31 and died on September 3. Since then, there have been two confirmed cases in the capital, one of which was a fatality.

Out of 119 confirmed cases on the island nation, 40 people have been killed, the Guardian reported.

Plague is a bacterial disease that is usually spread among rodents by infected fleas. If the bacteria reaches the lungs in bitten humans, patients develop pneumonic plague that can be transmitted through droplets spread during coughing. This is one of the most deadly infectious diseases and has the ability to kill victims within 24 hours.

The last known plague outbreak occurred in Peru in 2010. There are worldwide cases of plague reported each year, with more than 200 cases in Madagascar since 1990. In the United States southwest, plague circulates at low rates within rodents, which are most likely to infect humans, CBC News reported.

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