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Travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK

Plague in Madagascar

02 Oct 2017

An outbreak of plague in Madagascar has spread to the capital Antananarivo and other port towns, infecting at least 114 people in recent weeks. There have been 21 deaths, the latest being a man from the Seychelles who died on 27 September 2017 was visiting the capital, Antananarivo for a sports event. This latest fatality was due to pneumonic plague, which is transmitted by person-to-person spread.

Advice for Travellers

Plague is rare in international travellers.

  • Travellers visiting rural areas in endemic regions during ongoing outbreaks should be aware of the risk of plague.
  • The risk will be highest for 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 also a risk of pneumonic plague which is spread via inhaling droplets from a person coughing due to respiratory symptoms.

There is no commercially available vaccine against plague.