BLACK DEATH PLAGUE: Madagascar outbreak on RISE despite claims ‘situation under control’

Friday, September 21, 2018
By Paul Martin

AT LEAST two people have died of the plague in Madagascar since early August, with the number of suspected cases rising to 13 from six in less than a week.

Fri, Sep 21, 2018

The news comes less than a year after the African island experienced its deadliest outbreak of plague in decades, which killed more than 200 people and infected thousands more.

Health Minister Yoël Rantomalala said yesterday: “According to counts undertaken between August 1 and September 17, we recorded 13 suspected plague cases – three cases were confirmed and caused two deaths.”

The first death was recorded in Fiadanana, some 186 miles south of the capital Antananarivo, while the second was recorded in the central district of Ambalavao.

“For the moment, we have the situation under control, we are on the right track,” Mr Rantomalala said, adding that the country’s health officials had learned the lessons from last year’s epidemic.

Around 200 people were killed and thousands more were infected last year before outbreaks of bubonic and pneumonic plague – the worst to hit the island in 50 years – were brought under control in November.

By September 2017, health officials had already recorded 54 confirmed cases after the disease spread to large urban areas, including the capital, an unprecedented situation.

Health experts worried at the time that if the disease reached mainland Africa it could spread further and spiral out of control.

“For now, there is no need to talk of an epidemic or to restrict public meetings,” Charlotte Ndiaye, a local representative of the World Health Organisation, said in an attempt to assuage growing public concern about the spread of the disease.

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