By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

After going several week without a reported human plague case in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), new cases were reported between mid-February and mid-March.


Since the beginning of the year a total of 20 suspected bubonic plague cases with 7 deaths (case fatality ratio 35%) were notified in 5 health zones: Aungba (4 cases et 2 deaths), Linga (7 cases and 5 deaths), Rethy (6 cases and no deaths), Aru (2 cases and no deaths) and Kambala (1 case and no deaths). From week 1 to 52 of 2019, 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 inanimals throughout the world, most commonly rats but other rodents like ground squirrels, prairie dogs, chipmunks, rabbits and voles. Fleas typically serve as the vector of 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.

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Bubonic plague is the most common form. In this form, the bacteria enter the body through the bite of an infected flea or rodent. Here the bacteria infect the lymphatic system. After a few days to week, the person will experience fever, chills, weakness, and swollen lymph glands. These are called buboes.

Untreated bubonic plague is fatal about half the time.