In a follow-up to recent reports here on Outbreak News Today concerning the plague outbreak in Madagascar HERE and HERE, the World Health Organization (WHO) released an update Sunday with more details on what’s happening on the world’s 4th largest island.

Yersinia pestis
Produced by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), this digitally-colorized scanning electron micrograph (SEM) depicts a number of purple-colored Yersinia pestis bacteria that had gathered on the proventricular spines of a Xenopsylla cheopis flea./CDC

The Ministry of Health of Madagascar has notified WHO of an outbreak of plague. The first case was identified on 17 August in a rural township in Moramanga district. The case passed away on 19 August. As of 30 August, 14 cases, including 10 deaths, were reported. All confirmed cases are of the pneumonic form. Since 27 August, no new cases have been reported from the affected or neighboring districts.

The national task force has been activated to manage the outbreak. With support from partners – including WHO and the Pasteur Institute of Madagascar – the government of Madagascar is implementing thorough public health measures, including active case and contact finding, provision of chemoprophylaxis, case and contact management, enhanced epidemiologic surveillance, infection prevention and control (house disinfection), vector control activities, social mobilization, coordination and resource mobilization.

The current outbreak follows another plague outbreak that occurred in Madagascar between 2014 and 2015, with a peak in November 2014 when over 335 cases and 79 deaths were reported.