Reported outbreak of the plague in Seychelles

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Kaylee Bowman, Reporter

An outbreak of the plague in Madagascar has spread to the neighboring islands of Seychelles. This had been reported by the country’s health ministry last Wednesday.

A 34-year-old man fell ill after returning from Madagascar on Friday; He’s tested positive for the pneumonic plague, according to the ministry.  He is now receiving antibiotics while in isolation at Seychelle’s hospital.  

“The patient continues to be hospitalized in isolation until completion of the antibiotic treatment. He is currently asymptomatic and in stable condition,” said medical aid group, the WHO.

Fifteen others, who were all in contact with him before his diagnosis, are now isolated at the same hospital and are under surveillance. His child and partner both appear to be ill; they are being tested for the plague.

Forty-two people that arrived from Madagascar are all being treating for severe coughs and fevers. They’re all being monitored for the plague. This includes a national basketball team that participated in a national tournament in late September.

The public health commissioner of Seychelles, Dr. Jude Geodon, has asked the public to not panic. All flights to Madagascar provided by Air Seychelles have been canceled and citizens have been advised not to travel. Americans have been issued “enhanced precautions” if heading to Madagascar by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Air Seychelles flights to-from Madagascar were stopped from October 8 to reduce the likelihood of further importation of cases from Madagascar,” the WHO said.

Madagascar is having trouble controlling an outbreak that began in August. There have been five-hundred confirmed cases of the plague and fifty reported deaths.

Medical aid groups including The W.H.O., Doctors of the World, and Doctors Without Borders are sending experts to help Madagascar fight the outbreak.

The case in Seychelles is the first report of the plague spreading to another country. Many officials worry it will gain momentum like the Ebola outbreak that took place in Africa in 2011 and infected thousands of individuals.

Madagascar has about four-hundred reported cases of the plague a year, but usually, it is confined to the rural highlands after a rice harvest.

This specific outbreak worries health officials because it has spread to several Malagasy cities, including the capital, Antananarivo.

Madagascar continues to try and fight the outbreak while Seychelle attempts to isolate themselves from neighboring countries and travelers.