After Killing At Least 20 in Madagascar, Plague Reaches Seychelles

The plague outbreak reached Seychelles only within a fortnight of WHO confirming the deaths in Madagascar.

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Face masks are placed on children in Antananarivo, Madagascar on 3 October 2017.
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The outbreak of plague reached Seychelles, The New York Times reported on 11 October.

The development comes within a fortnight of when World Health Organisation (WHO) said on 29 September that an outbreak of plague killed 20 people in Madagascar within a span of one month.

Madagascar’s health ministry confirmed the case on Wednesday when a 34-year-old man tested positive for the plague after he returned to Seychelles, a series of Islands in the Indian ocean, from Madagascar, reportedly. He has been put in isolation at a hospital in Seychelles.

Other than killing people, WHO had confirmed in September that another 84 were infected.

The Plague is mainly spread by flea-carrying rats. Humans bitten by an infected flea usually develop a bubonic form of plague, which swells lymph nodes and can be treated with antibiotics.

But the more dangerous pneumonic form invades the lungs and can kill a person within 24 hours if not treated. About half of the 104 known cases are pneumonic, the WHO said.

WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told reporters in Geneva that areas affected included the capital Antananarivo and the port cities of Mahajenga and Toamasina.

The UN health agency said it feared that the outbreak could worsen because the season for plague, which is endemic in Madagascar, had only just begun, and runs until April. On average, 400 cases are reported each year.

"The overall risk of further spread at the national level is high," WHO said in a statement.

(With inputs from Reuters and The New York Times.)

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