What you need to know about the plague

27 October, 2017, 00:58 | Author: Keith Rowe
  • Black Death plague outbreak

"A multi-sectoral national response coordination committee has been established, under the leadership of the Minister of Public Health (MOPH) with the support of the WHO, to coordinate the response to the plague outbreak".

It wasn't really all that long ago that the "black death" pandemics wiped out massive chunks of the population in various European and Asian cities.

The bubonic plague is transmitted to humans by infected fleas.

There are three forms of plague infection: pneumoic plague, septicaemic plague and bubonic plague, the most common form. However, a person with secondary pneumonic plague may form aerosolized infective droplets and transmit plague via droplets to other humans.

Infected people may then develop pneumonic plague once their bubonic infection becomes advanced.

South Africa has put several measures in place including alerting all airline companies to remain vigilant for suspected ill passengers; port health officials have enhanced their screening measures to detect ill passengers arriving.


In bubonic sufferers, these inflamed lymph nodes may end up turning into pus-filled open sores.

Its symptoms are flu-like - fever, chills, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin, neck or armpits.

Being geometry deficient, the only thing that I, like most Americans, knew about Madagascar was that it is Africa adjacent (it is an island off the coast of Mozambique), and that it had an animated movie named for it.

Plague isn't exactly a rare thing in Madagascar, with hundreds of cases of the infection popping up on a yearly basis, but what makes this particular outbreak so devastating is that it's spread more rapidly and much farther than it typically does.

The organisation says that the overall risk of the plague is very high in Madagascar and that, depending on the type of plague, there is a 30 to 100% chance of death within 72 hours if it is left untreated. Where plague is endemic, it is usually found in rodents and is spread by fleas from rodent to rodent, or to other mammals.

For more information about treatment efforts, travel tips and preventative measure, visit the World Health Organization's website.

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