Efforts stepped up to fight Madagascar plague outbreak

In an effort to combat and prevent the current outbreak of plague in Madagascar, the World Health Organisation (WHO), last week delivered nearly 1.2 million doses of antibiotics and released US$1.5 million dollars in emergency funds.

The different types of drugs will be used for both curative and prophylactic care. They are enough to treat up to 5000 patients and protect up to 100 000 people who may be exposed to the disease.

Meanwhile, Air Seychelles has announced that it will temporarily suspend flights to the destination in an effort to prevent the disease from spreading to its borders. The airline is advising that all passengers who are affected by the service suspension to contact the airline’s call center by either phoning +248 439 1000 or to email on callcentre@airseychelles.com. Alternatively, travellers should contact their travel agents.

Most of the 231 infections and 33 deaths that the Ministry of Health has reported since August are associated with pneumonic plague – a more dangerous form of the disease that affects the lungs and is transmitted through coughing at close range.

Both bubonic and pneumonic plague can be cured using common antibiotics if delivered early. Antibiotics can also help prevent infection among people who have been exposed to plague.

The WHO is currently appealing for US$5.5 million to effectively respond to the outbreak and save lives.

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