Malagasy officials have raised the death toll from a recent bubonic plague outbreak to 47 as the bacterial disease spreads through the country.
Madagascar’s Health Ministry made the announcement on Monday, and warned that the toll would probably rise over the coming months as it spreads towards the capital Antananarivo.
They added that 138 suspect cases have been recorded since the beginning of the year.
The ministry went on to say that it is attempting to contain the outbreak by disinfection of residents’ homes.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed the dispatch of health workers to sanitize slums in the capital.
According to Philemon Tafangy, the health ministry’s secretary general, “200 households have been disinfected” this month.
He added that in an attempt to arrest the spread of the disease, antibiotics have been given to all those who had come in contact with the infected.
The bacterial disease, which is wreaking havoc on the island nation off the coast of mainland Africa, is mainly transmitted by fleas, which often reside in the hair of rats and other rodents.
People who catch the disease transmit it through coughing and develop swollen lymph nodes that are treatable with antibiotics.
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