Health Conundrum : Madagascar Plague Outbreak

Across the African continent, at the very least one constant is certain for sure. The outbreak of diseases is an enigma few African countries can boost immunity toward. Madagascar at present  is a clear example. The active presence of the World Health Organization (WHO) in delivering over a million anti-biotics and the health ministry from Seychelles, discouraging travel of any kind to Madagascar ultimately puts the situation far beyond just mild.

A case study of the disease indicates the following:

In just two months, the plague has claimed about 230 lives while the normal tally of lives claimed by the plague in a year is about 400. At the current rate, the annual tally could be astronomical considering the public outcry  in Madagascar on the slow response by the government and events taking place on the ground. Entwined to this, the high number of people who are ill is currently overwhelming the specialized hospitals in the countries capital Antananarivo, where there are long queues and many individuals who remain unattended to within the traditional 24 hours provision.

The ways that the plague has manifested are two-fold. The first of which is a bubonic plague and the other pneumonic plague. Of the two, the pneumonic plague is the most fatal and deadly as it can be transmitted through a cough and can claim a life in as little as 24 hours if left unattended.

The other, the bubonic plague, is less wide-spread as it is spread primarily through rodent bites. Chiefly, the rodents originate from fire-forests where they flee and seek comfort in human habitation.

Subsequently, the decisions to ban public gatherings, close schools, close the country’s two main universities and  prevent prison visits in the interim should surprise very few.

However, great courage can be taken from a statement issued by the WHO Madagascar representative Charlotte Ndiaye, who stated that plagues are curable if attended to promptly. Though enlightening as that statement may be, it will provide little comfort to urban residents who as a rarity go through such a malaise.

A plague whose origin has been tracked to eastern Madagascar now is proving to be somewhat of a national quandary. It is situations such as these that remind us that worldwide research to halt diseases in the coming years is imperative and deserves dittoing, certainly every well-meaning constituent of the African continent should support this.

Featured image | Antananarivo : Oledoe | flickr

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Best of Africa.

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