Suspected plague kills 100 in Congo, WHO says

first_img In March 2005, the WHO reported that 130 cases and 57 deaths from pneumonic plague had been reported in Zobia, Bas-Uele district in Oriental province of the DRC, dating back to Dec 15, 2004 (see CIDRAP story link below). Nineteen of the deaths occurred in Ituri district in the northeastern Oriental province, a plague hotbed, according to the WHO. Preliminary results from rapid diagnostic testing confirmed pneumonic plague, the least common but most lethal form of the disease, according to the WHO. Further laboratory analysis, including cultures, is ongoing, the WHO reported. A team from Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders), the WHO, and the DRC Ministry of Health is in the outbreak area assessing the situation and helping local health authorities, according to the WHO. The WHO also said suspected cases of bubonic plague have been reported in the country, but the number of cases was unknown. Jun 14 WHO statement on plague outbreakhttp://www.who.int/csr/don/2006_06_14/en/index.html Officials have set up isolation wards to treat patients and are administering preventive drugs to close contacts of those infected. However, according to the WHO, control measures have been difficult to implement because of security concerns in the war-torn area. The WHO stated, “Ituri is known to be the most active focus of human plague worldwide, reporting around 1,000 cases a year. The first cases in this outbreak occurred in a rural area, in the Zone de Sante of Linga, in mid-May.”center_img Plague kills 30% to 60% of infected people if left untreated, but it can be effectively treated with antibiotics and other measures if diagnosed in time, according to the WHO. Pneumonic plague accounts for only 2% of plague cases. About 99% of all plague cases and deaths occur in Africa. May 27, 2005, CIDRAP News article “Plague outbreak highlighted ongoing problem in Africa” Jun 14, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – One hundred people have died in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) of suspected pneumonic plague, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today. See also: The plague bacterium, Yersinia pestis, circulates mainly among rodents and their fleas but occasionally spreads to humans. It is transmitted primarily by flea bites, direct contact, or inhalation of contaminated respiratory droplets. CIDRAP plague overviewlast_img

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