WHO delivers drugs to fight plague in Madagascar

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has delivered nearly 1.2 million doses of antibiotics and released US$1.5 million in emergency funds to help in the fight against a plague outbreak in Madagascar.

“Plague is curable if detected in time. Our teams are working to ensure that everyone at risk has access to protection and treatment. The faster we move, the more lives we save,” WHO Representative in Madagascar Dr. Charlotte Ndiaye said.

The health body has already delivered 1,190,000 doses of antibiotics to the island nation’s Ministry of Health, and will send a further 244,000 in the days ahead.

The doses are enough to treat up to 5000 patients and protect up to 100 000 people who may be exposed to the disease.

The Malagasy health authorities on Thursday said the death toll from the plague outbreak had hit 33 in the last two months.

During that period, 231 suspected cases were recorded.

WHO and the Ministry of Health are training local health workers on how to identify and care for patients, and how to trace people who have had close contact with symptomatic patients so that they may be given protective treatment.

Most of the 231 infections and 33 deaths that the Ministry of Health has reported since August are associated with pneumonic plague – a more dangerous form of the disease that affects the lungs and is transmitted through coughing at close range.

The health body has also appealed for US$5.5 million to effectively respond to the outbreak.

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