The World Health Organization (WHO) released an update today on the plague outbreak in Madagascar:

Yersinia pestis bacteria, which was grown on a medium of sheep’s blood agar (SBA) Image/CDC

As of 3 October 2017, a total of 194 cases (suspected, probable and confirmed) with 30 deaths (case fatality rate 15.5%) have been reported from 20 districts in 10 regions. Of these, 124 cases and 21 deaths (case fatality rate 16.9%) had the pneumonic form of the disease. Eight healthcare workers from one health facility in Tamatave have contracted pneumonic plague. Of 29 cases with specimens collected, 19 (66%) have been confirmed by either polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or RDT performed at the Institut Pasteur de Madagascar. On 3 October 2017, 37 new cases including 2 deaths have been reported.

On 29 September 2017, the Malagasy health authorities confirmed pneumonic plague as the cause of death of a Seychelles basketball coach, who was attending the Indian Ocean Basket-ball Club championship from 23 September – 1 October 2017. A South African basketball official also tested positive for plague by PCR test on 3 October 2017. The risks of further spread associated with this tournament are currently being assessed, as all the participants are being monitored.