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S.Africa on alert after plague reported in Madagascar
Last Updated: 2017-10-27 06:55 | Xinhua
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South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) on Thursday warned South Africans travelling to Madagascar to avoid highly populated areas containing the plague outbreak in that country.

"South African travellers to Madagascar are advised to avoid highly populated areas and to wear surgical masks while in transit. Liberal application of DEET-containing insect repellent is advised to prevent flea bites. Prophylactic antibiotics are not advised," said NICD in a statement.

NICD advised people returning from Madagascar to monitor their health for 15 days and seek medical care immediately at their nearest health facility when symptoms of the plague are observed. According to the NICD, the symptoms of the plague includes "fever, chills, head and body aches, painful and inflamed lymph nodes, or shortness of breath with coughing and/or blood-tainted sputum."

The NICD also advised those with symptoms of the plague to tell the doctor of their recent travel.

World Health Organization (WHO) said on October 20 that 1297 cases and 102 deaths have been reported to health authorities in Madagascar. Case fatality rate is 7 percent. WHO said 65 percent of cases are presenting as pneumonic plague, rather than the usual bubonic form.

All South African airliners have been warned to be alert of passengers becoming sick. The Civil Aviation Authority has conducted refresher training for members in event that suspected cases are identified. The port health officials have upped their screening measures to detect and respond to ill passengers arriving in the country. The country have also put contingent measures in place should the plague be reported.

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