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Plague death toll tops 200 in Madagascar

While there has been no new cases of confirmed bubonic plague cases after Nov. 8 and no new cases of confirmed pneumonic have been notified since Nov. 14, the World Health Organization today released the latest numbers from the Madagascar plague outbreak showing that the number of fatalities has reached more than 200 through Nov. 22.

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From the 1 August through 22 November 2017, a total of 2348 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of plague, including 202 deaths (case fatality rate 8.6 %), were reported by the Ministry of Health of Madagascar to WHO.

There were 1791 cases of pneumonic plague, of which 22% were confirmed, 34% were probable, and 44% were suspected. In addition to pneumonic cases, there were reports of 341 cases of bubonic plague, one case of septicemic plague and 215 cases with type unspecified.

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In total, 81 healthcare workers have had illness compatible with plague, none of whom have died.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, cases of pneumonic and bubonic plague have been detected in 55 out of 114 districts (48%), including non-endemic areas and major cities. Analamanga Region has been the most affected, with 68% of the cumulative reported cases.

The Institut Pasteur Madagascar has cultured 33 isolates of Yersinia pestis, which were all sensitive to the antibiotics recommended by the National Program for the Control of Plague.

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Plague is endemic in some areas of Madagascar and additional cases of plague may occur, at least until the end of the plague season in April 2018. It is therefore important that control measures continue through the end of the plague season.

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