US warns ships of plague outbreak in Madagascar

US warns ships of plague outbreak in Madagascar

The US authorities have issued a maritime alert urging vessels calling in Madagascar to exercise caution due to an outbreak of plague.

Local media report that the outbreak is severe and fast spreading, affecting the whole island of Madagascar, including the country’s ports.

In particular, an outbreak of pneumonic plague has been reported in the port city of Tamatave/Toamasina.

“This infectious disease causes fever, chills, head and body aches, vomiting and nausea, and can be fatal. It is spread through bites by infected fleas, inhalation of respiratory droplets/small particles from persons with pneumonic plague, and unprotected contact with infectious bodily fluids or contaminated materials.

“The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that travelers to Madagascar take the following steps to protect themselves – use EPA-registered insect repellent that lists protection against fleas on the label and contains at least 25% DEET; avoid close contact with sick or dead animals; and avoid close contact with seriously ill people, especially people who are coughing up blood.

“Those calling at Madagascan ports should be alert to the plague risks and take appropriate precautions to avoid infection. This may include considering limiting contact on shore, refraining from traveling inland, and seeking prompt medical assistance in the event of suspected plague symptoms and/or after close contact with those who are infected,” the US authorities said. 

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