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Plague in Madagascar

Madagascar has been hit by an outbreak of plague since the end of August 2017. The disease mainly affects the outskirts of cities like Antanarivo, Toamasina and Faratshio.

04-10-17

Image 1/1 : Toamasina, Madagascar

Madagascar has been hit by an outbreak of plague since the end of August 2017. The disease mainly affects the outskirts of cities like Antanarivo, Toamasina and Faratshio. Plague is endemic on Madagascar and each year some cases of this disease are confirmed. This year, however, the disease also showed up in its pneumonic form, which is an unusual but rapidly spreading variant. More worrying is its spread to more densely populated urban areas.

Plague is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis which is present in small mammals (such as rodents) and can be transmitted by infected flees. Pneumonic plague can be transmitted from one person to the next through coughing (by breathing in air-born saliva particles).

The risk for travellers is low.

Preventive measures against plague include:

  • Using insect repellents (such as DEET 50%, picaridine, IR3535) to avoid flee bites
  • Avoiding contact with dead animals
  • Avoiding contact with sick people.

Antibiotics are effective against plague. Taking antibiotics preventively is only recommended if you come into close contact with sick people (for example if you are a health worker). Expats do not need to take antibiotics preventively.

If you have complaints (fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, respiratory problems) please consult a doctor immediately. Travelers are advised to take antibiotics with them (ciprofloxacin or doxycycline) to start treatment after being advised to do so by a doctor.

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