Five deaths of pulmonary plague have been confirmed by the Ministry of Health, including one in the capital. They occurred between 28 August and 11 September. In a press release, “the Ministry of Public Health calls the population to vigilance against the proliferation of rats and flea proliferation. It recommends environmental sanitation and the fight against bush fires “which favors the arrival of rats in the villages.
The first death occurred on August 28th. A man from Ankazobe, a district very exposed to the plague, three hours’ drive north of the capital, went by bush taxi to Toamasina on the east coast. He died on the road in the town of Moramanga. In the taxi-bush, the traveler contaminated two of his neighbors. One died on his arrival at Toamasina, the other on the following day. Either less than 24 hours after being infected.
Two other women, from the same family as the victims of Toamasina, died, one in Antananarivo, the other in the south of the capital in another taxi-bush. Dr. Manitra Rakotoarivony, Director of Health Promotion, said all infested taxi-brush passengers were found and treated for the plague. Their homes and taxi-bushes have been disinfected. In Toamasina, pharmacies were stormed by a panicking crowd.
The ministry discourages self-medication that could lead to drug resistance and recommends that people go to the basic health centers. Indeed, all the people who have been in contact with the sick will be treated free of charge. To date, 22 suspect cases have been treated and are currently in good health.
The Ministry also recommends that the Malagasy population be vigilant in case of clinical signs, ie high fevers, as well as the appearance of painful buboes or a strong cough. Other symptoms such as chest pain and bloody sputum are also to be monitored. Pulmonary or bubonic plague is a highly contagious virus caused by rat fleas and can cause death in less than 24 hours (for pulmonary plague) or within days (for bubonic plague). Each year, plague causes between 60 and 70 deaths.