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Madagascar plague: The worst is over Today's News

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Madagascar’s unprecedented outbreak of pneumonic plague is slowing down, but the World Health Organisation is cautioning that the response must be sustained.

“The worst of the outbreak is over, but we must stand ready to detect and respond to new infections until the end of the plague season in April, 2018,” says WHO director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

According to data published by the Madagascar Ministry of Health, the number of new infections has been steadily declining in recent weeks. This indicates that measures taken to contain the outbreak have been effective, but more infections of both bubonic and pneumonic plague are expected until the end of April.

“I congratulate the Government of Madagascar for the way it has worked with partners to contain this outbreak. This is just the type of leadership needed to prevent outbreaks spiralling out of control,” Dr Ghebreyesus added.

Between August 1 and November 22, the Madagascar Ministry of Public Health reported 2 348 cases, including 202 deaths. Nearly all identified plague patients and almost 7 300 contacts were provided with treatment free of charge. 

Ongoing support to sustain the response was required for comprehensive case finding, active contact identification and treatment, rodent and flea control, and ensuring safe and dignified burials, WHO said in a statement. WHO will also continue to assist national health authorities to maintain surveillance and response capabilities and to effectively manage future outbreaks.

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