Plague outbreak kills 5

Pneumonic plague is spread from person to person by droplets in the air and those infected experience flu-like symptoms.

While known to many as an illness from the Middle Ages that devastated Europe, the plague in its bubonic form is still endemic to countries including Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Peru.

In Madagascar, an island off Africa’s south-east coast, about 600 cases of plague are reported every year, most of them bubonic, which is transmitted when a person comes in contact with infected fluid or tissue.

The much rarer pneumonic strain of the disease is fatal unless treated within 24 hours.

Local newspaper L’Express reported that anxious citizens had already bought up all the supplies of plague antibiotics in the capital Antananarivo.

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