In the Atsimo-Atsinanana and Ihorombe regions of Madagascar, at least 68 people are said to be infected with the bubonic plague while 27 have been confirmed dead in the southern region, according to health authorities.
The bubonic plauge, which was known as the Black Death in Europe in the 14th century, is a highly infectious disease caused by the Yersinia pestis bacterium. Humans can be infected with the disease through infected rats, causing enlarged lymph nodes in the body, which make up most of the cases reported. Five people were however diagnosed with lung plague which is spread through bacteria that is breathed in.
Antibiotics are used to cure the plague. Should it affect the lungs however, the survival rate is minimal as it becomes fatal within 24 hours. The plague season is usually between September and March. Tourists are said to be at risk, as the population density and the country’s developing healthcare system are considerable factors in the plague’s risk to spread.
In previous centuries, millions have been killed by the plague in the Indian Ocean island, which has been most affected.