Swedish and UK P&I Clubs have warned members that an unusual outbreak of plague pneumonia has been detected in many parts of Madagascar, including the heavily populated cities of Antananarivo and Toamasina.
Between August 1st and October 23rd, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported 1,365 possible cases of plague in Madagascar. Of these, 16% were confirmed. Between August 1st and October 19th there were 1.297 cases (suspected, probable and confirmed) including 102 deaths (a fatality rate of 7.9%). Of these, 846 cases (65.2%) were clinically classified as pneumonic plague, 270 (20.8%) were bubonic plague, one case was septicaemic plague, and 180 cases were unspecified. Of the 846 cases of pulmonary plague, 91 (10.8%) were confirmed, while a further 407 (48.1%) were deemed “probable”.
The Clubs noted that WHO has a low threshold for considering a respiratory illness to be plague because it does not want to miss any possible cases.
Although there are currently no restrictions on travel or trade to Madagascar, Members were advised to take caution when calling at Madagascan ports.