By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

In a follow-up report at the beginning of the year, health officials in the Ituri province region in the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are reporting some 520 plague cases during the past three months, including 31 deaths, according to an AFP report.

Oriental rat flea, Xenopsylla cheopis/CDC

According to the health minister for the region, Patrick Karamura, the vast majority of the cases are the bubonic form of the disease, while five cases of pneumonic plague and two of septicemic plague have also been reported.

In addition, local media report (computer translated) cases of bubonic plague are reported in some health zones of the territories of Djugu, Mahagi and Aru in Ituri province.

Doctor Jean-Jacques Muyembe, who made a stopover this Tuesday, February 16, 2021 in Bunia, announced the arrival of a specialized team to confirm the presence of the epidemic.

“So far the disease is there but we have not confirmed. I want to send a team of specialists who will come here with the machines to confirm this epidemic. I think that from next week the team will be here and will work with you at the provincial laboratory level,” he said.

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.

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