United Nations: Outbreak of plague in Madagascar has killed 40 people, a UN spokesman said here Monday.
"Cases have been reported in 16 districts of seven regions, including in the capital, Antananarivo," Xinhua quoted Stephane Dujarric as saying here at a daily news briefing.
"WHO says there is now a risk of a rapid spread of the disease due to the city's high population density and the weakness of the healthcare system," the spokesman said.
Plague is an infectious, bacterial disease which is typically spread by rodents and fleas. Human can contract it if they are bitten by fleas. So far, there have been 119 cases reported in the island nation, with two in the capital.
With support from partners, the government of Madagascar has taken effective strategies to try to control the outbreak, the spokesman added.
However, local authorities have noted that fleas have been developing a resistance to the pesticide typically used to control them, which further complicates the situation.
"The World Health Organization for its part is providing technical expertise and human resources support. Personal protection equipment, insecticides, spray materials and antibiotics have also been made available," the spokesman explained.
The outbreak started back in August in a rural village, and then spread to seven of Madagascar's 22 regions, according to the WHO.