Published: Sat, October 07, 2017
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Red Cross scaling up efforts as plague crisis worsens — Madagascar

Red Cross scaling up efforts as plague crisis worsens — Madagascar

It thrives in places with poor sanitary conditions and inadequate health services.

But the more unsafe pneumonic form invades the lungs and can kill a person within 24 hours if not treated.

The coach, 49-year-old Alix Allisop, died in a hospital on Wednesday after experiencing breathing problems, according to media in the Seychelles.

Health authorities are tracing people with whom he came in contact, thus exposing them, to administer antibiotics as a precautionary measure to prevent infection.

To date there have been at least 114 confirmed cases of the plague which was identified last August. Infectious disease and community-health experts will be deployed to Madagascar to support the Red Cross response.

WHO, which is sending more staff and supplies, including antibiotics, to Madagascar, said about 400 case of plague, mostly bubonic, are reported every year in the country.

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To contain the spread, the International Red Cross Federation is releasing emergency funds to support the Malagasy Red Cross, which is mobilizing more than 700 community volunteers in response to the outbreak. Contrary to past outbreaks, this one is affecting large urban areas, which increases the risk of transmission.

The bubonic plague bacterium can travel to a person's lungs, causing pneumonic plague, which can spread quickly from person to person through droplets in the air.

Officers of the ministry of Health spread of the pesticide in the classroom in order to kill the fleas and eradicate the plague, Madagascar, on October 2, 2017.

For the six years from January 1, 2010 to December 31 2015, 3248 cases of plague in humans were reported, resulting in 584 deaths.

The drugs will be used "for curative and prophylactic", says the World Health Organization in a press release.

The Malagasy Red Cross has responded to past plague outbreaks in the country and is working closely with the Government and global partners to scale up response efforts.

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