Plague – Madagascar
Madagascar reports thirty cases of the pneumonic plague as of September 10th with seven deaths, all of which were in the province of Miandrandra.
Antibiotics should be given within 24 hours symptom onset to reduce of chance of death. Streptomycin, gentamicin, tetracyclines, and chloramphenicol are all effective against pneumonic plague.
Photo: Yersinia pestis, Direct Fluorescent Antibody Stain
Plague is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Symptoms include fever, weakness and headache. Usually this begins one to seven days after exposure. In the bubonic form there is also swelling of lymph nodes, while in the septicemic form tissues may turn black and die, and in the pneumonic form shortness of breath, cough and chest pain may occur.
Bubonic and septicemic plague are generally spread by flea bites or handling an infected animal. The pneumonic form is generally spread between people through the air via infectious droplets.
Plague has historically occurred in large outbreaks, with the best known being the Black Death in the 14th century which resulted in greater than 50 million dead.
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