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Travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK

Bubonic Plague in Madagascar (Update)

24 Jan 2017

A media report of 18 January 2017 asserts that the current outbreak of bubonic plague in Befotaka (southeastern Madagascar) has seen 68 cases, of which 27 have died.

Additionally, the report advised that unconfirmed reports suggest a 2nd cluster of 30 cases nearby, though it did not specify a location.
The report also suggested that the re-emergence of this disease is connected to an increasing contact between the local population and forested areas; illegal logging in Madagascar has led to mass deforestation and subsistence farmers continue to push into wild habitats.

Advice for Travellers

The risk to the majority of travellers, even those visiting endemic regions, is low.

Travellers visiting rural areas in endemic regions during ongoing outbreaks should be made aware of the risk of plague.

The risk will be highest in those who are camping, staying in very basic accommodation, hunting or who may have close contact with local wildlife, particularly rodents. Such individuals should practice good insect bite avoidance and avoid close contact with sick or dead animals.

There is no commercially available vaccine against plague.