By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

The head of the provincial health division in Ituri Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) reported 15 cases of bubonic plague, including 11 deaths from April 23 to May 8.


“The victims show symptoms of headache, fever, cough and vomiting blood. The report shows 15 cases including 11 deaths so far. The first case was that of a lady who had died in the Fataki health zone in the Bukachele health zone. A week later, on April 30, a 30-year-old man also died after showing the same symptoms. On May 8, there was another man who died. We were alerted when there were already 5 deaths in this health area in the same family. Afterwards, there were two people who had gone to the burial place in Bukachele who, on their return, became ill and died in Bule ”, according to Dr Louis Tshulo.

The head of the Ituri DPS reassures that Fataki’s intervention teams are continuing to investigate. Their investigations notified on May 19, two deaths in Bukachele and two other deaths in Bule including a traditional practitioner who treated the sick. Four other suspects with the same symptoms are currently being treated in health facilities, including two in Bule and two others in Bukachele.

The population of the health zone of Fataki and Djugu is called upon to regularly wear masks, to strictly respect physical distancing, to avoid the handling of corpses and to alert on all suspected cases. But also refrain from eating rat meat at this time of the epidemic.

Bubonic plague has been reported since 2020 in Ituri with 461 cases including 31 deaths reported in 8 health zones: Logo, Linga, Biringi, Kambala, Rethy, Rimba, Aru and Aungba.

Related: Congo, Madagascar top countries reporting most plague 2000-2009, US reports 57 cases

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.