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Plague in Madagascar: 124 people died, more than a thousand infected

27 October 2017

It wasn't really all that long ago that the "black death" pandemics wiped out massive chunks of the population in various European and Asian cities. While the bubonic plague is spread through infected fleas from common mammals, pulmonary plague is transmitted from human to human.

The most common, but less risky form of the plague is the bubonic plague, causing "inflamed lymph nodes, which can then turn to puss-filled, open sores if the condition worsens", the report read.

Pneumonic infections can then be spread through the air, while septicaemic plague occurs when infection spreads through the bloodstream. That might seem like a drastic step, but the form of plague that is now doing the most damage is the pneumonic variety, which can be spread through coughing and sneezing, and tends to be one of the most contagious forms. In addition, 1,192 cases of the disease have been registered in the country.

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The deaths translate to a seven percent fatality rate, according to a report posted on NICD webite.

The bubonic plague is less deadly and causes inflamed, puss-filled lymph nodes which turn into open sores as the condition opens. Typically, the pneumonic form is caused by spread to the lungs from advanced bubonic plague.

Symptoms include sudden fevers, head and body aches, vomiting and nausea.

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Health officials suspect it's no coincidence that the outbreak - which has infected more than 1,100 people and killed 124 since August - coincides with the time of year when families customarily exhume the remains of dead relatives, wrap them in a sheet, and dance with them through the streets in a sacred ritual, AFP reports. Pneumonic plague, World Health Organization says, is "always fatal" when left untreated.

Being geometry deficient, the only thing that I, like most Americans, knew about Madagascar was that it is Africa adjacent (it is an island off the coast of Mozambique), and that it had an animated movie named for it.

Bubonic plague is fatal in 30-60 per cent of cases, while the pneumonic kind is always fatal, if left untreated. The man used public transportation to travel from Ankazobe District to Tamatave (about a nine hour nonstop drive), while symptomatic, though populated areas (the capital of Madagascar, Antananarivo) before passing away.

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Plague in Madagascar: 124 people died, more than a thousand infected