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Deadly outbreak of the plague is spreading in Madagascar and it could get worse

Deadly outbreak of the plague is spreading in Madagascar and it could get worse
From Global News - October 5, 2017

A deadly outbreak of the plagueone of themostdevastating pandemics in human historyis spreading in cities across Madagascar, the World Health Organization warned.

The diseasehas killed 21 people and infected 114 people since it was identified in late August. The country already has the highestnumber of cases of the disease in the world, but this time the plague is spreadingto large urban areas, which increases the risk of transmission.

READ MORE: U.S. teen hospitalized with bubonic plague

WHO is concerned that plague could spread further because it is already present in several cities and this is the start of the epidemic season, which usually runs from September to April, Dr. Charlotte Ndiaye with the WHO said in a statement.

Our teams are on the ground in Madagascar providing technical guidance, conducting assessments, supporting disease surveillance, and engaging with communities, she added. We are doing everything we can to support the governments efforts, including by co-ordinating health actors.

Bubonic and pneumonic plague

The outbreak in Madagascar includes two forms of the plague. Bubonic plague is spread by rats infected by flea bites and the pneumonic plague is spread by person-to-person transmission. Nearly half of the cases identified so far are of pneumonic plague, the WHO said.

READ MORE: Giant Asian gerbils may be to blame for Europes Black Death

The plague is a disease of poverty and thrives in places with poor sanitary conditions and inadequate health services.It can kill quickly if left untreated, but can also be cured by common antibiotics if delivered early, according to the WHO.

The plague in U.S., Canada

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