MSH at the 2018 Health Systems Research Symposium
Last week, at the 5th Global Symposium on Health Systems Research in Liverpool, MSH presented on the approach and lessons learned during the community-level response to the 2017 plague outbreak in Madagascar.
All infectious disease epidemics begin at the community level. Left unnoticed or unchecked, a single unusual case can quickly spread, threatening the health, livelihood, and security of an entire nation and even the world. Cholera outbreaks in Rwanda, Avian Influenza on the border of Uganda, and Ebola in West Africa have shown us how difficult it can be to detect and quickly respond to infectious outbreaks.
In Madagascar, bubonic plague is endemic. Typically, the country will record between 400 and 600 cases annually. However, in 2017, the plague also took the pneumonic form, making it highly contagious. Spreading from person to person through the air, pneumonic plague is much more virulent and contagious than bubonic plague, which spreads to humans through infected flea bites or direct physical contact with infected cadavers. Left untreated, pneumonic plague is fatal. The severity of this outbreak led the Government of Madagascar to declare a level two plague epidemic on September 30, 2017.