By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Since the beginning of the year, Ituri province in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has reported a total of 117 suspected cases of bubonic and pulmonary plague and 13 deaths (case fatality rate (CFR): 11.1%) from 8 health zones.

Public domain image (cropped)/Calliopejen

In Fataki health zone in the province, where plague has not been seen in at least 10 years, a total of 37 cases of bubonic and pulmonary plague with 12 deaths (CFR: 32.4%).

Plague is endemic to the north-east areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) where cases were reported for the first time in 1928.

The endemic nature of the disease in this region is linked to more cases in the rainy seasons (from March-May then July-November), harvest seasons, and its peri-forest environment leading to the presence of peri-domestic rodents that can carry the plague bacillus and rodent fleas that transmit plague.

According to country reports, an average of 114 cases were reported between 2013-2020 where an upsurge in cases and geographical extensions have been increasingly noted since 2019. The most cases reported during these years was in 2020 where the total of number of cases reached more than 450.

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