The plague has killed 124 people and infected 1,200 in Madagascar since August.
FILE: A council worker sprays disinfectant during the clean-up of the market of Anosibe in the Anosibe district of Antananarivo in Madagascar on 10 October 2017. Picture: AFP.
CAPE TOWN – The plague has killed 124 people and infected 1,200 in Madagascar since August.
The data has been released by the UN and Madagascar’s National Bureau of Risk Management and Disaster.
The plague, also known as the black plague or bubonic plague, is caused by the bacterium Yersinia Pestis and is typically spread through the bite of infected fleas, frequently carried by rats.
Symptoms of the plague include painful, swollen lymph nodes, called buboes, as well as fever, chills and coughing.
Dr Lucille Bloomberg, from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, says there is no outbreak in South Africa and citizens shouldn’t panic.
“I think our risk of getting the plague from people travelling from Madagascar to South Africa would be very low. We need to be vigilant, we do have systems in place. We can test for plague here, we’ve had the plague on the continent for a long time. The antibiotics are readily available.”
Sixty-seven percent of cases in Madagascar have been classified as the pneumonic form of the disease, which means it can spread from person to person.