Over the past 5 days, 230 new suspected plague cases were reported in Madagascar, with the disease spreading to seven more of the country’s districts, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today in an update. In a related development, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) issued its first risk assessment on the outbreak, which said the outbreak’s high number of pneumonic

cases are concerning, especially since that form of the disease is known to spread in densely populated urban areas, such as its capital Antananarivo and port city of Toamasina, which are some of the main affected areas. Plague is caused by Yersinia pestis, a bacterium spread by infected rats via flea bites. Human-to-human transmission fuels the spread of pneumonic plague. Of the 230 new suspected cases reported since the WHO’s Oct 4 update, 17 have proved fatal, the WHO said. READ MORE