Plague in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Nearly 300 cases in Ituri since August
By NewsDesk @ bactiman63
According to a recent UNICEF Humanitarian Report, in Ituri province in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), authorities have reported 286 cases of bubonic plague, of which 27 deaths have been reported since August.
The health zones of Rethy and Biringi have the highest number of cases, with 210 recorded cases, including 15 deaths.
In a ProMED letter to the courier Published Thursday, EcoHealth Alliance officials also report the bubonic plague outbreak in the Biringi health zone, reporting some 150 suspected cases from mid-November to mid-December.
Overall, women and men are equally affected; however, adolescents (under 17) appear to be the most at risk, accounting for 78.9% of those ill, they write in the letter.
The authors write: In this region, where there are nearly 47,000 internally displaced refugees from South Sudan, some of whom move freely between the two countries, the risk of a regional outbreak is to be considered if the epidemic also reaches this camp.
Plague is a contagious disease sickness caused by the bacteria, Yersinia pestis. It is found in animals around the world, most commonly rats but other rodents like ground squirrels, prairie dogs, chipmunks, rabbits and groundhogs in China. Fleas are usually the vector of the plague.
People can also become infected through direct contact with an infected animal, by inhalation and, in the case of pneumonic plague, person-to-person.
Yersinia pestis is treatable with antibiotics if started early enough.
There are three forms of human plague; bubonic, septicaemic and pneumonic.