By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

Ituri province, in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), has notified an upsurge of plague cases in the health zone of Rethy. From 11 June to 9 August 2020, a total of 73 cases with 10 deaths (CFR 13.6%) were notified in 5 out of 22 health areas of Rety health zone.

Bipolar staining of a plague smear prepared from lymph aspirated from an adenopathic lymph node, or bubo, of a plague patient./CDC

Plague is endemic in Ituri province. Since the beginning of 2020 to date, Ituri Province has reported a total of 124 cases and 17 deaths (CFR 18.7%) in 5 health zones, namely Aungba, Linga, Rethy, Aru, Logo and Kambala.

In 2019, from week 1 to 52, a total of 48 cases of bubonic plague including eight deaths have been reported in the country.

Plague is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium, Yersinia pestis. It is found in animals throughout the world, most commonly rats but other rodents like ground squirrels, prairie dogs, chipmunks, rabbits and marmots in China. Fleas typically serve as the vector for plague.

People can also get infected through direct contact with an infected animal, through inhalation and in the case of pneumonic plague, person to person.

Yersinia pestis is treatable with antibiotics if started early enough.

There are three forms of human plague; bubonic, septicemic and pneumonic.