Plague – Madagascar
As of September 16, a total of 38 suspected cases of pulmonary plague including 19 confirmed and 6 deaths were reported.
Individuals with pneumonic plague have reported fever, headache, weakness, shortness of breath, chest pain, and sometimes watery or bloody mucous.
Current efforts by local health officials include: contract tracing, chemo prophylaxis for high-risk contacts of alive and death cases, regular meetings of the plague control committees at reginal and health district level, and mass sensitization activities. Ongoing investigation as well as vector and anti-reservoir control measures , are also ongoing.
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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