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Top 5 Contagion® News Articles for the Week of November 12, 2017

NOV 18, 2017 | CONTAGION® EDITORIAL STAFF

#1: Madagascar's "Worst Plague Outbreak in 50 Years" May Finally Be Winding Down

Plague is one of the oldest—and most feared—of all diseases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

And right now, Madagascar is in the midst of their worst plague outbreak in 50 years, but the vigorous efforts made by health officials to get it under control seem to be paying off.

Infamously known as the “Black Death,” plague accounted for a staggering 50 million deaths in Europe in the fourteenth century. Since then, the disease has never gone away. Madagascar is no stranger to the plague; in fact, the bubonic form of the disease is endemic on the Plateaux of Madagascar, including the Ankazobe District, which is where the current outbreak originated.

Plague season came early this year for the large island nation—the epidemic season usually ranges from September to April—bringing with it an outbreak of predominantly the pneumonic form of the disease, which, according to WHO is the most virulent form. Pneumonic plague, or lung-based plague, is always fatal in infected individuals if left untreated.

Between August 1, 2017, and November 10, 2017, a total of 2119 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases of plague were reported, according to the latest External Situation Report released by WHO, and the death toll has reached 171. Furthermore, 365 of the 1618 clinical cases of pneumonic plague have been confirmed.

The good news is that the number of new cases of pneumonic plague appears to have been declining since the middle of October. 

Read more about the plague outbreak in Madagascar here.
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