Seychelles reports suspected plague case
A probable case of plague in the Seychelles, imported from Madagascar, is believed to have sparked the Indian Ocean country’s first outbreak of the disease, the World Health Organization said.
Plague, which is mainly spread by flea-carrying rats, is endemic in Madagascar.
A large outbreak has killed 57 people since late August, according to the United Nations agency, the first time the disease has appeared in non-endemic urban areas, including in Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo.
Seychelles health authorities reported a probable case of pneumonic plague on October 10 involving a 34-year-old man returning from a visit to Madagascar, the WHO said.
“The patient continues to be hospitalized in isolation until completion of the antibiotic treatment. He is currently asymptomatic and in stable condition,” the agency added.
Nearly 70 percent of cases in Madagascar have been pneumonic plague, a form spread human-to-human that is more dangerous than bubonic plague and can trigger epidemics.
The pneumonic form invades the lungs, and is treatable with antibiotics. If untreated, it is fatal and can kill within 24 hours.
An initial diagnostic test on the Seychelles man had been “weakly positive” for pneumonic plague, but definitive results are expected from the Institute Pasteur in Paris, the WHO said.