Madagascar is still fighting a plague outbreak that has killed 113 people to date. (For context, last year an outbreak of bubonic plague killed at least 31 people in the country.) The latest report from UNICEF states that there is the start of a decline in the infection rate.

You can view our reporting on the outbreak here. For information from the CDC on the plague, its different forms, diagnosis and treatment, please click here.

From the UNICEF report

Madagascar: Plague Outbreak Situation Report, 30 October 2017

Highlights

• The number of new notified cases have begun to decline following six weeks of intensive outbreak response by the Madagascar Government and partners to the dual epidemics of pneumonic and bubonic plague. While the number of patients decrease, 978 people have been cured, 122 are currently on treatment, and 113 deaths have been reported.

• Between 1 August and 27 October, a total of 1,554 cases have been notified, out of which 985 are pneumonic plague, 230 bubonic plague and 339 unknown. Out of these total reported cases, 332 cases are confirmed, 495 cases are probable and 727 cases suspected. It is noteworthy that only 27 per cent of pneumonic cases have been confirmed so far, while 34 per cent remaining probable and 35 per cent suspect. Considering the current situation and the fact that the plague season in Madagascar runs through April, continued vigilance of the response is required.

• Treatment and referral capacity, data management, contact tracing and communication and sensitization have been significantly reinforced. The current focus is on rumour management, addressing stigmatization, safe and respectful burial, and clarify diagnosis of very young children who are unable to go through regular testing.

• To facilitate the reopening of schools and the return to school for 415,000 children in affected areas, on November 6 (following the precautionary closure of schools on 2 October), UNICEF has been working with the Ministry of Education on plague detection and referral protocol and related special training for more than 15,000 teachers and administrative staff to ensure that children with symptoms are properly referred to treatment centres without causing stigmatization or panic.

• UNICEF’s support to the response, is focused on improving the health case management in treatment centres, including hygiene and wash provisions; facilitating food provision for patients and families in hospitals and a continuously evolving communication response aimed at sensitizing communities on the dangers of the epidemic; advice on how to prevent and access treatment, as well as address rumours; reduce stigma and facilitate work at community level (tracing, referral, burials).

Please click here to read the report in full.

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