24/10/2017 07:07 SAST | Updated 24/10/2017 07:08 SAST

Madagascar plague outbreak yet to reach peak

102 plague deaths have been reported since the outbreak began.

RIJASOLO via Getty Images
Council workers ready to start the clean-up operation of the market of Anosibe in the Anosibe district, one of the most unsalubrious district of Antananarivo on October 10, 2017. The World Health Organization has warned that a deadly outbreak of the plague, which began in late August, has claimed more than 20 lives in Madagascar and is swiftly spreading in cities across the country. Rats are porters of fleas which spread the bubonic plague and are attracted by garbages and unsalubrity. Pneumonic plague, which is passed through person-to-person transmission, has also been recorded.

An international aid group says Madagascar's deadly plague outbreak has not yet reached its peak.

Action Against Hunger said on Monday that 102 plague deaths have been reported since the outbreak began in August and that most of the nearly 1 300 reported cases of plague are of the pneumonic kind, a more virulent form that spreads through coughing, sneezing or spitting and is almost always fatal if untreated. It says the highest number of cases have been detected in Madagascar's capital, Antananarivo.

"We have not yet reached the peak," said Olivier Le Guillou, the aid group's director in Madagascar.

Plague is endemic in Madagascar. This year's outbreak is unusual because for the first time the disease has affected the Indian Ocean island's two biggest cities, Antananarivo and Toamasina.