In a follow-up on the plague epidemic in Madagascar, the National Office for Risk and Disaster Management (BNGRC) has reported the following information as of Oct. 31:
The epidemic remains active in 12 districts.
- 1,836 cases have been identified (253 confirmed, 693 probable and 890 suspected), 61 per cent of which were pneumonic.
- 133 deaths have been recorded, half of which occurred within communities.
- 1,044 patients have been cured since the beginning of this epidemic, 83 others are under treatment in hospital.
- There has been a slow-down in new cases of plague from 477 new cases during week 41 of the current outbreak (9-15 October) to 161 new cases during week 43 (23-29 October).
- 4,825 people who had been in contact with the disease completed prophylactic treatment, out of a total of 6,203 people identified.
- 17 districts have established health control posts.
The total number of cases (1,836) is already almost 5 times higher than the average annual total (September to April). However, there has been a slow-down in new cases of plague from 477 new cases during week 41 of the current outbreak (9-15 October) to 161 new cases during week 43 (23-29 October).
Medical and non-medical responses to pneumonic plague (as compared to the bubonic form) is challenging in urban environments due to population density and mass transit. The capital Antananarivo, a transport and trade hub, has been most affected. The urban context increases risk for the all actors involved in the response, including social workers, members of security and defense forces, journalists, sanitation workers, communication workers, volunteers and particularly for health workers, of whom 77 have been infected to date.
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