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Old infectious disease is spreading again: Already 100 fatalities in Madagascar


The number of plague cases in Madagascar tripled within a few days

The plague has been with mankind for thousands of years and has repeatedly led to devastating epidemics with millions of fatalities in the past. Even today there are cases of illness in some regions. In Madagascar, the number of plague cases tripled within a few days - there are almost 100 fatalities.

In some regions there are always epidemics

The plague is one of the most devastating epidemics in human history. Especially in the Middle Ages, the "Black Death" claimed millions of lives. Even today, epidemics continue to occur in some regions. The dangerous infectious disease is currently occurring increasingly in Madagascar. The number of diseases in the island nation tripled within a few days.

Disease can be treated with antibiotics

The plague is a highly contagious infectious disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. The pathogen is usually transmitted by infected fleas from rats. The most common form is bubonic plague.

Infection is usually accompanied by flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache and body aches as well as inflammation of the lymph nodes in the groin area.

The lung plague, however, is transmitted by droplets. It can spread quickly. If left untreated, the disease quickly leads to death.

In the Middle Ages, millions of people died from the so-called "black death". Nowadays, with early diagnosis, the disease can be treated with antibiotics. The chances of recovery are very high. Still, people still die from it.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there were 3,248 cases worldwide between 2010 and 2015, including 584 deaths. "The currently three most endemic countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar and Peru," the organization writes on its website.

On the island of Madagascar, the epidemic is currently raging particularly hard.

Almost 100 people have died as a result of the infection

The number of plague diseases in Madagascar has tripled to about 1,153 cases within about ten days, according to a report by the dpa news agency. So far, 300 of these cases have been confirmed in the laboratory.

As the WHO said in Geneva on Friday, at least 94 people had died as a result of the infection.

On Thursday, the authorities in the capital, Antananarivo, spoke of just over 900 diseases in which most people suffer from the highly dangerous and easily transmitted pneumonia.

A week and a half earlier, on October 10th, there were 350 plague cases and 40 deaths.

Current epidemic is much more severe
The epidemic in Madagascar started in early September. Smaller outbreaks of bubonic plague are not uncommon in the island state off the southeast coast of Africa.

However, the current epidemic is significantly more severe, the diseases are mostly cases of easily transmitted pneumonia.

The WHO sent around 1.5 million doses of antibiotics to Madagascar for treatment and prophylaxis because of the disease. (ad)

Author and source information


Video: Principles of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology (August 2020).