According to CNN, the United Nations Office, Madagascar has been dealing with a plague outbreak since August of this year; infecting 1,192 individuals, with 124 deaths. Sixty-seven percent of the reported cases took the pneumonic form of the illness, meaning it could spread person-to-person.
An infection that is caused by the Yersinia pestis bacterium, the plague general spreads via infected fleas bits, which tend to be carried by rats. Signs of the condition include: swollen lymph nodes (that cause pain), fever, coughing, and the chills.
The dangers around pneumonic plague is that it is dangerously contagious and can be spread via airborne droplets when sneezing or coughing. It can also bring on a severe lung infection and the incubation period for the illness is short, where someone who is infected can die from the condition within 12 hours to a day of realizing they have it.
Antibiotics can treat the illness, but early detection is key.
According to the UN, 40 of the 114 districts within Madagascar have reported cases of the illness, with fewer than 30% of individuals who had contact with the plague can be traced. Individuals who have been in contact with the illness will need treatment to avoid any further risk of spreading.
Cases have popped up in ten cities, as well as the more populated ones like Toamasina and Antananarivo.
Still, according to the UN report the good news is that over 700 people have been cured of the infection since early August, as well as the no new cases have surfaced from the six districts the plague has been affect by within the past 15 days. While the numbers have been increasing, it seems the condition of the disease is stable, this as per a World Health Organization representative.
Plague is prevalent within Madagascar, with about 400 reports of the condition yearly, still it is mostly the bubonic and the outbreak occurring right now has affected more regions and has begun earlier than most seasons. WHO has also stated that it is abnormal for the illness to affect larger cities, as is the case for 2017.
The outbreak this year was traced back to a male located in the central highlands of Madagascar; an area where the plague is widespread, as per a Ministry of Public health investigation. This outbreak has created international and national control efforts.
Eight designated WHO health centers have popped up to help health clinics and hospitals in the area deal with the overload of patients who suffer from the epidemic. The International Federation of Red Cross has also recently organized a treatment center in Madagascar.