Plague outbreak in Madagascar kills 40 people

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Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

An outbreak of plague in Madagascar has killed 40 people according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The agency adds that a total of 119 cases have been confirmed on the Indian Ocean island.

WHO says there is a risk of a "rapid spread of the disease" in the capital Antananarivo due to the city's high population density and the weakness of the healthcare system.

Stéphane Dujarric is the UN Spokesperson.

"With support from partners, the government of Madagascar has put in place effective strategies to control the outbreak. The World Health Organization is providing technical expertise and human resources support. Personal protective equipment, insecticides, spray materials and antibiotics have also been made available."

Plague is a bacterial disease which is spread from one rodent to another by fleas. Humans bitten by an infected flea usually develop a bubonic form of plague. If diagnosed early, bubonic plague can be successfully treated with antibiotics.

Pneumonic plague is one of the most deadly infectious diseases. Patients can die 24 hours after infection.

Only 2% of reported cases in Madagascar are of the pneumonic form.

Stephanie Castro, United Nations

Duration: 1’20″

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