Cases of Plague have been confirmed in the following regions: Analamanga, Atsinanana, Boeny (Mahajanga city), Faratsiho, Haute-Matsiatra, Sava, and Toamasina.
Plague is endemic in Madagascar. Cases of bubonic plague typically occur between September and April. Risk is present in the central highlands in the following regions: Antananarivo, Antsiranana, Bongolava, Fianarantsoa, Haute-Matsiatra, Mahajanga, Toamasina, and Vakinankaratra.
For the latest information on Plague outbreaks please go to: ProMED-mail. Plague - Madagascar (02): 2017-2018. ProMED-mail 2018; May 02: 20180502.5780275. <ProMED-mail>. & WHO Weekly Update on Outbreaks and Other Emergencies. Week 17: 21-27 April 2018. <WHO>. Accessed on April 30, 2018.
Plague is a zoonosis – an animal disease that can spread to humans – caused by Yersinia pestis bacteria. It is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected fleas that live among rodents such as squirrels, chipmunks, woodrats, prairie dogs, rabbits, and mice. There are three forms of the infection:
Plague is primarily found in arid regions of Africa, South America, Asia, and North America. Hikers, campers, hunters, and persons occupationally exposed to wild rodents in endemic areas such as anthropologists, archeologists, geologists, spelunkers are at greater risk of exposure.
Flu-like symptoms appear 1 to 10 days after being bitten, including fever, headache, chills, muscle pain, weakness. The illness is also characterized by painful lymph glands. If untreated, the infection can spread to the bloodstream, also known as septicemic plague, which is accompanied by abdominal pain, shock, internal bleeding of organs and skin tissue that may turn black. Pneumonic plague can also develop if bubonic or septicemic plague is untreated. In this case, symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, and coughing blood or watery mucous. Shock and respiratory failure can become fatal. Rapid diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics is important for a full recovery. Patients need to be isolated to prevent spreading the infection to others.
There is currently no commercially available vaccine or preventive medication against Plague.
Yersinia pestis bacteria images, life cycle, and distribution maps
Health risk description last reviewed: September 14, 2016
Country information last updated: July 16, 2018