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NICD: SA has plans in place for pneumonic plague outbreak

More than 340 people have been infected and 42 have died following an outbreak of the disease in Madagascar.

A council worker sprays disinfectant during the clean-up of the market of Anosibe in the Anosibe district of Antananarivo in Madagascar on 10 October 2017. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - The National Institute for Communicable Diseases says there are plans in place should the pneumonic plague reach South Africa.

More than 340 people have been infected and 42 have died following an outbreak of the disease in Madagascar.

The institute's John Frean explains: “We’re prepared for the eventuality. Preparations are being mad to cope with that possibility.”

The pneumonic plague is described as a severe lung infection.

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention says that people should look out for symptoms like fever, headache, weakness, a rapidly developing pneumonia with shortness of breath, chest pain, cough and sometimes bloody or watery mucous.

It says the pneumonic plague may develop from inhaling infectious droplets or from untreated bubonic or septicemic plague after the bacteria spread to the lungs.

People who have been advised to seek immediate medical treatment if they experience the above-mentioned symptoms.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)