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Wednesday, 11 January 2017

26 Deaths reported in Madagascar Plague Outbreak

Bipolar staining of a plague smear prepared from lymph aspirated from an adenopathic lymph node, or bubo, of a plague patient. (Source: CDC)


In early December 2016, a suspected plague was reported by Ministry of Health in Madagascar to World Health Organization. The affected district Befotaka, south-east of the country known to be endemic and till now no such plague cases were reported since 1950.

Based on the record on 27th December 2016, 62 cases (6 confirmed, 5 probably and 51 suspected) including 26 deaths were reported. The fatality rate is about 42 percent.

Of 11 samples, 5 were tested positive by rapid diagnostic test and 6 then confirmed by Institut Pasteur Laboratory. Among 11 samples, 5 were classified as pneumonic plague and remaining as bubonic plague.
Investigations have reported that the outbreak was started since mid of August 2016. The affected zone is known to be remote and hence insecurity slows down investigations.

Key response activities that have been included now are (Source: Outbreak News):

  • ·        Epidemiological investigations including active case finding and rapid diagnostic testing
  • ·        Training of community health workers on community-based surveillance and early detection of cases
  • ·        Clinical Management of suspected cases
  • ·        Identification, follow up and chemoprophylaxis of contacts
  • ·        Vector and reservoir control through the use of Kartman boxes
  • ·        Sensitization of the population
  • ·        Strengthening the community based surveillance
  • ·        Free treatment of other diagnosed disease such as malaria
  • ·        Strengthening early detection in neighbouring districts
  • ·        Laboratory confirmation

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