74 People Dead, More Than 800 Infected In Madagascar Plague Outbreak; Suspected Cases In Seychelles Test Negative

The Guardian: ‘It is a dangerous moment’: Madagascar plague death toll reaches 74
“…Since that first ‘case zero’ [in late August], the outbreak of the highly contagious strain of plague has claimed 74 lives over two months, infecting more than 800 people. Marking the outbreak as doubly dangerous, many cases have also featured the most virulent form of what was known in the Middle Ages as the Black Death — pneumonic plague…” (Beaumont, 10/19).

HuffPost: In A Single Week, Plague Cases More Than Doubled In Madagascar
“…While plague is endemic in the island country of Madagascar, which typically sees 400 or so cases in the September-to-April outbreak season, this recent outbreak has several differences. First, the infections began earlier in the season, with the first case in August. And, crucially, more than 70 percent of infections have been pneumonic … making them far more infectious and easily spread than the more typical bubonic cases, which are spread by fleas on rats…” (Weber, 10/18).

Reuters: Plague ruled out in Seychelles but islands on guard: WHO
“Plague has been ruled out in the Seychelles following lab results from 10 patients, including one earlier deemed a ‘probable’ case, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday as the disease continued to spread in Madagascar…” (Nebehay, 10/18).

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